Jacobs & Douglass: An Insight Into The Experience of The American Slave Essay

Jacobs & Douglass: An Insight Into The Experience of The American Slave Essay

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The slave narratives of the ante-bellum time period have come across
numerous types of themes. Much of the work concentrates on the underlining ideas beneath the stories. In the narratives, fugitives and ex-slaves appealed to the humanity they shared with their readers during these times, men being lynched and marked all over and women being the subject of grueling rapes. "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas" and "Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" themes come from the existence of the slaves morality that they are forced compromise to live. Both narrators show slave narratives in the point of view of both "men and women slaves that had to deal with physical, mental, and moral abuse during the times of slavery." (Lee 44)
Violence was almost an everyday occupancy in the life of a slave, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs had to accept that from the start. In "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave" Douglass portrayed his first and worst experience of violence, "being stripped away from his mother when he was just a baby" (Lee 33). He told his story like it was something that was supposed to occur, not knowing his own family and not even knowing when he was born. It was not unusual for children born in slavery. His mother was a slave and his father was a white man. He was told that women that gave birth in slavery were subject to this, because they still had to be productive. On the other hand Jacobs depicts family life among slaves as one that remains intact in a comfortable environment. She details a family, in which each member had minimal rights and little to no say so on how they spent free time or their earnings.
Many of the scholars of the 20th century slave narrat...


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...n American Literature. By Henry Louis. Gates and Nellie Y. McKay. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2004. 387-452. Print.

Hunter-Willis, Miya. Writing the Wrongs: A Comparison of Two Female Slave Narratives. Diss. Marshall University, 2008. Dissertations & Theses: Full Text, ProQuest. Web. 22 Sep. 2011.

Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself. Ed. Jennifer Fleischner. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. Print.

Lee, Desmond. “The Study of African American Slave Narratives “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” and “Narrative of Frederick Douglass”.” Studies of Early African americans. 17 (1999): 1-99. Web. EBSCO

Wolfe, Andrea Powell. “Double-Voicedness in “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”: “Loud Talking” to a Northern Black Readership.” ATQ 22.3 (2008): 517-525. World History Collection. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sep. 2011.

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