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How does the comparison of Joe to a slave master contribute to his characterization?
Because many of the people in town had been slaves themselves, it makes them fear and obey him, showing him to be a tyrannical character.
Because the setting of the novel is not too far removed from times of slavery, it reinforces the fact that he feels superior to everyone else in town.
Because many of the people in town had been slaves themselves, it shows that he is manipulating them based on sensitivities from their past.
Many of the townspeople had been slavemasters, so this shows how he feels a kinship with the rest of the town.
Because most of the people in the town had no connection to slavery, this shows a disconnect between Joe and everyone else.