Comparing History for Hawthorne and Brent

Satisfactory Essays
Understanding History for Hawthorne and Brent

Knowing and understanding social, political, and cultural history is extremely important when reading many novels, especially Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent and any short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Both of these authors had many extinuating circumstances surrounding their writings that should be noted before reading their works. Without knowing what was happening both in the outside world and in the respected author's life, one cannot truly grasp what the author is trying to say or what the author truly means by what he or she is saying. In this paper, I will show how important it is for the reader to understand the social, political, and cultural happenings in the writer's lives and in the world surrounding them during the times that their works were written.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an incredible example for what I am trying to show. This book was written during a time of extreme racial segregation and the hatred and cruelty shown, in general, towards blacks from whites is extremely important to understand before reading the story. This book tells the story of the life of a young, black, female slave in the south and focuses on trying to explain the trials, tribulations, and emotional and physical suffering that she, and many others like her, endured while being involuntary members of the institution of slavery. Brent, like every other victim of the atrocity we call slavery, wished those in north would do more to put a stop to this destructive practice. As she stated, slavery is de-constructive to all who surround it. It tears apart families; not just families raised in slavery, but the master's family as well. How could the free men and women of the north remain silent while such a great atrocity is still in practice?

Brent confronts her reader one on one in order to reemphasize her point. She uses the family and sentiment to appeal to and challenge the 19th century white women reader in order to effectively gain their support in the movement for abolition. Understanding what was going on in our nation, in the southern states, and in the northern states is incredibly important when reading this story. Slaves were nothing more than property and, in many cases, were treated with less respect than the family dog.
Get Access