Slavery is a prominent topic found in Mark Twain's works. Relations between the colored and the whites occupy many stories authored by Twain, like in "A True Story". Twain uses "Aunt Rachel" to portray a long known stereotype of the Sambo slave. The sambo slave is depicted as a person who is submissive, faithful, superstitious, childlike and content; however, this portrayal may be just the outward persona a slave takes on, either to prevent a master's suspicion of any funny business (escape/ rebellion plans- like Nat Turner) or harsher punishment (beatings or labor). The white masters came up with this idea of the "sambo" slave to provide a justistification for the enslavement of blacks. The justisitification goes as follows, the blacks can't fend for themselves, therefore, the white masters must be the parent of the childlike slave, by creating a paternalistic relationship between the master and slave. This ideal of the "sambo" slave, that the white master thought was reality, was in fact, not reality at all but, an illusion put forth by the cunning slaves to mislead their true intentions and character's.
I found that Aunt Rachel in "A True Story" illustates the characteristics of the sambo slave, when she was"sitting respectfully below our level, on the steps" and when she was never heard sigh and always had a laugh in her eye (Twain, 95). She wasn't planning a huge rebellion or escape, but Aunt Rachel put on a front that she was perfectly content and submissive, albeit this story was set in the post-civil war era. Maybe "Misto C" held fast to the inherited "sambo" slave figure, when he thought that Aunt Rachel had no trials or tribulations in her lifetime. Maybe Misto C had thought that Aunt Rachel was just content, submissive, and happy to be serving the white folk, or maybe that's just what Aunt Rachel wanted him to believe and think, like most "sambo" slaves did. But of course, this is all speculation of Misto C's mindset. Was Aunt Rachel playing the part of the "sambo" slave? Or was Misto C just an ignorant idiot who didn't pay attention to details (emotions)? Or was Misto C oblivious to the fact that Aunt Rachel had deep human emotions- which also begs to the ask if Misto C regarded blacks as fellow human beings?
We may never know the answers to these questions solely based on "A True Story", but it doesn't help to wonder about what Twain wanted us to contemplate about the slavery era and race relations between coloreds and whites.