Interracial Figures of the American Renaissance

analytical Essay
2686 words
2686 words

Interracial Figures of the American Renaissance This essay examines Cora from The Last of the Mohicans, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Ann Jacobs. The American Renaissance marks a period of social injustice and the fight of the minority to bring about social change. Women and African-Americans (who were freed or escaped from slavery) begin to gain a voice through literacy, and use that voice to start the movement to abolish slavery and gain women rights. The development of literacy makes it impossible to ignore women and African-Americans because their writing provides a permanent record of the horrors of slavery and injustice of oppressing the minority groups. Furthermore, the gain in literacy by these groups makes Anglo-Saxons face the realities of their world and challenges the American dream. Perhaps the most fascinating result of the destruction to the American dream is the introduction of the interracial character. During this period of history (and long after it) the myth existed that the races were pure. Judith R. Berzon in her book Neither White Nor Black: The Mulatto Character in American Fiction, attributes the emergence of interracial characters in the nineteenth and twentieth century to "(1) a widespread fear of miscegenation; (2) the tenacious view that mulattoes are a Îdegenerate, sterile and short-lived breedâ ; (3) the unresolved dilemma of the social and economic roles of the emancipated African-American; and (4) the unease with which Caucasians generally regarded those who carry traits of both racial groups" (19). The interracial characters exposed the reality in America, that the children of slaves on the plantation were a result of white slave owners having intercourse with their slaves. Co... ... middle of paper ... ...s, an American Slave." Paul Laufer, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, vol 1, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Douglass, Frederick. "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July." Paul Laufer, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, vol 1, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Jacobs, Harriet Ann. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl." Paul Laufer, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, vol 1, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Kinney, James. Amalgamation! Race, Sex, and Rhetoric in the Nineteenth-Century American Novel. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1985. Mills, Charles W. "Whose Fourth of July? Frederick Douglass and ÎOriginal Intent.â" Bill E. Lawson and Frank M. Kirkland, eds. Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1999.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the american renaissance marks a period of social injustice and the fight of the minority to bring about social change.
  • Analyzes how cora represents the intermingling of races and the complexity that occurs due to her interracial heritage in james fenimore cooper's novel, the last of the mohicans.
  • Explains that it was their lot to form a connexion with one who became their wife, and the mother of cora.
  • Analyzes how cooper addresses the issue of interracial relations, but maintains an element of romanticism in that cora's mother comes from a foreign land.
  • Analyzes how cora's mixed heritage allows her to break from this mold and develop traits that would traditionally fit in the heroic male’s persona.
  • Analyzes how fear has overcome alice, and she is helpless. she hears, but is unable to follow.
  • Analyzes how alice must depend on her male companions and cora to get through the obstacles they face on their journey. her white heritage forces her into the social norms, and makes her unable to break from those restraints.
  • Analyzes how cora, struggling with herself to speak with calmness, said her intention was to lead us prisoners to the woods or contemplate even greater evil.
  • Analyzes how cooper provides an interesting insight into the roles of women in the romantic novel by having the sisters represent the pure white (alice) and the mixing of races (cora).
  • Analyzes how cora's relationship with uncas and her death exemplify the complications of racial impurities place in the ideology of the american dream.
  • Opines that a hunter would be her companion, who knew how to provide for her smallest wants, and the warrior would protect her against danger.
  • Analyzes how cooper establishes that although cora and uncas do not have a place in society, they can transcend this world and be together in the afterlife.
  • Describes how the father's surviving daughter had moved far into the settlements of the "pale-faces," where her tears had ceased to flow, and had been succeeded by bright smiles which were better suited to her joyous nature.
  • Analyzes how alice and duncan return to where they belong in a world of comfort and where racial issues are ignored. cooper almost jabs alice when he sets off the "at last" with commas to say she finally quit whining.
  • Analyzes how frederick douglass fought for the abolition of slavery and women's rights. his mother is harriet bailey, but the identity of his father remains an enigma.
  • Explains that their father was a white man, and the opinion was whispered that my master was my father, but of the correctness of this opinion, they knew nothing.
  • Analyzes how douglass exemplifies the nonchalance of the slave owner's attitude toward having sexual relations with his slaves.
  • Explains that men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep, and swine, all holing the same rank in the scale of being.
  • Analyzes how douglass suggests that society's inability to except interracial individuals comes from their view that slaves are merely property and livestock.
  • Explains why we should continue to value this speech a hundred and fifty years later because its courage, moral outrage, and political intransigence are still inspirational. douglas saw, correctly, that the fourth of july belonged to white americans rather than all americans.
  • Analyzes how douglass uses his experience as a slave to show the white majority that the founding principle of america's independence, is not reality for all americans. by downplaying his white heritage, he segregates himself from his audience.
  • Analyzes how harriet ann jacobs' incidents in the life of a slave girl discusses the interracial relations between slaveholders and slaves, although her heritage does not come from this mixing.
  • Explains that southern women marry a man knowing he is the father of many little slaves. they regard such children as property, as marketable as the pigs on the plantation.
  • Analyzes how jacobs demonstrates the treatment of interracial children as mere property to be sold quickly in order to not upset society.
  • Analyzes how cora, frederick douglass, and harriet ann jacobs exemplify the complications surrounding interracial figures in the american renaissance.
  • Cites berzon, judith r. neither white nor black: the mulatto character in american fiction.
  • Explains paul laufer, the heath anthology of american literature, vol 1, 3rd ed. boston: houghton mifflin company, 1998.
  • Describes douglass, frederick, and paul laufer's the heath anthology of american literature.
  • Analyzes jacobs, harriet ann, and paul laufer's the heath anthology of american literature.
  • Explains kinney, james, amalgamation: race, sex, and rhetoric in the nineteenth-century american novel.
  • Explains that mills, charles w., "whose fourth of july? frederick douglass and îoriginal intent." bill e. lawson and frank m. kirkland.
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