Review of a Troublesome Property by Nat Turner
Another aspect, in which there was controversy, was with interpersonal relations. Slave owners believed that if the slaves were married and maintained a family that it would lead to good behavior and higher productivity. Yet, there were many slave owners who did not want their slaves marrying other slaves from different plantations. Nor did these slave owners want their slaves having other slaves visit them or vice versa. The only reason that those slave owners eventually complied is for the fact that the number of male slaves on certain properties began outnumbering the number of female slaves. Slaves were then only allowed to marry if they vowed to remain loyal to their masters and kept working efficiently. The work patterns of the slaves were another aspect that caused controversy. The legal system that gave planters absolute power was said to not ensure effective control of the quality or quantity of work performed. Slaves often resisted and insufficient supervision intensified problems. As a result, Slave owners were forced to compromise with the slaves; allowing slaves to report to work after sunrise and to work under less-immediate supervision than other plantations had. Gang systems were also implemented to increase the efficiency and productivity of the workers. Nevertheless, many slaves were performing poorly, resulting in the decision of severe punishments and threats of being sold. When that failed they resorted to positive inducements which included; extra days off during the holidays, additional food allotments, additional free time, or money.
Interviews with historians and writers like Henry Louis Gates, Louise Meriwether, Eric Foner, and Styron himself examine the way Turner's image and importance has evolved over the years, depending on the zeitgeist and who was telling his story. Burnett even includes himself in this legacy, revealing behind-the-scenes footage of this very film.