Harriet Wilson 's Our Nig Is Significant Because It Was The First Novel Published By An African American Woman

Harriet Wilson 's Our Nig Is Significant Because It Was The First Novel Published By An African American Woman

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Faith Burns
AAS 261W
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1. Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig is significant because it was the first novel published by an African American woman. Our Nig is also an autobiographical work and reveals life realities of free black people in the north.

2. The defining moment in Our Nig is when Frado challenges Mrs.Bellmont, who has been physically and mentally abusing her. Frado says she will no longer work for Mrs.Bellmont if Mrs. Bellmont whips her again; Mrs.Bellmont decreases the frequency of her beatings. This is similar to the turning point in Frederick Douglass’s life: when Douglass physically fought back against the slave breaker, Covey. After that, Covey never touched Douglass again, similar to the change in Frado and Mrs.Bellmont’s dynamic.

3. Our Nig highlights feminism by discussing struggles typical of any young woman, such as economic independence and self-respect. In addition, Frado does not find marriage to be her ultimate form of security.

4. The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry was the first black infantry to fight for the Union Army in the Civil War. Two of Frederick Douglass’s sons participated. The infantry was politically active in Boston but were still subjected to an immense amount of discrimination.

5. Charlotte Forte Grimke’s journals were significant because they provide details of the lives of free black women before the Civil War.

6. After being enslaved, Booker T. Washington was a successful writer, teacher, and leader. He excelled in his studies at Hampton Institute to become a teacher, and he eventually found Tuskegee Institute. His acclaimed autobiography, Up From Slavery granted him literary prestige as well. The nation regarded Washington as a leader of the black community. However,...


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...story behind it. Not only were the “incidents” amusing to me, but the issues regarding characters and authorship were also interesting.

20. Literature, especially African American literature, is related to history because many writers are heavily influence by the times that they lived in. Whether it is an autobiographical narrative, a piece of poetry, or a short story, the most skilled writers often use the society that they live in to frame their story, or writers reflect on current events to make a social commentary. Because the era of production often influences literature in some way, shape, or form, literature becomes history itself. The writings that come out of different time periods reflect the thoughts of people who lived in those times, providing modern day readers with an intimate look into the lives of people who lived through actual historical events.

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