Anyway, the comments that I've had really prompted me to think about why exactly the image of a slave is so powerful. And I guess it's because all of us, in some way, have experienced slavery - some to far greater and more awful degrees than others. For me, I think of what my life was like before I became a Christian. I would certainly have described myself as enslaved - in both mind and spirit - before I experienced salvation. But for me the picture has a far greater significance, and it's really an allegory of a particular period in my life. To be a slave is to have nothing - not even an identity. It is to be completely crushed and burdened. It is not necessarily to be hated, but to be treated as a product that can be consumed, wasted, poured out, or defiled as the user wishes - a product that is not even worthy of hate. It is to be reduced to an object. The sheer desperation of that state is terrifying. And then when freedom comes, it really is unthinkable. And the question is: can one ever live a normal life after having experienced trauma? When one has been hurt so badly, can one ever recover?
I like to think that while the ex-slave will never be the same, they will, in some ways, rise above the trials that they have experienced. I believe that pain makes one stronger. I believe that there must always be a light, even in the deepest darkness. I was once idealistic enough to believe one can erase one's former scars, but I don't think that any more. There are some things that a person can never forget. However, I do believe that this is why the slave imagery is so potent: because everyone hurts, everyone suffers, and some people suffer unbelievably. The slave image allows an author to sympathise with the reader who has gone through hell. Answers are not always forthcoming. But sympathy can mean everything.
What imagery really appeals to you?