Harriet Beecher Stowe and Fredrick Douglass experienced completely different events in their lives that led them both to write in protest of the slave society that they experienced. Harriet Beecher Stowe was a white woman raised in a Puritan society. She was outwardly opposed to slavery. She told her story for the purpose of bringing attention to the issue of the cruelties of slavery. Ms. Stowe's story is fiction, although I believe that it is an accurate depiction of slave life. She had no experience being a slave, but she witnessed slavery through the eyes of slaveholders. Her story is more objective concerning slave life than Fredrick Douglass' narrative. Douglass was a slave himself and he suffered physical as well as mental anguish from his experiences. His story is told from a more subjective point of view. He shared more graphic and alarming details in his story. He shared every detail he could recall of the outrageous cruelties that he had both witnessed others go through and endured himself.
Both Stowe and Douglass expressed their concern for those ignorant of the true meaning of slavery. In their writings, they both exhibit their frustration for people who call themselves Christian and continue to engage in slavery practices. Stowe brought to life the reality of the humanity of slaves, which may or may not have been realized by the majority of slaveholders. Eliza, the main character in chapter five, was a slave to Mr. and Mrs. Shelby. Mr. Shelby sold Eliza's only son to save his property. Mr. Shelby is depicted as a businessman who happens to own slaves and Eliza's son is apart of a business deal. Mr. Shelby, like many slaveholders, was thought of as a good man who generally treated his slaves well....
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...Tom's Cabin is an insightful novel, I found Douglass' narrative more interesting and subjective. I was more interested to know about the truth about the history of slavery rather than read a story about slavery. Sometimes it takes graphic and unpleasant reality to make people realize that what they are doing is very wrong and sometimes it takes one of their own to say "Hey what are we doing here?" Either way, I think that both pieces of writing were influential on the slaveholding community at the times that they were published.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. Ed. William L. Andrews and William S. McFeely. Rev. ed. New York: Norton, 1996. Print.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Ed. Elizabeth Ammons. New
York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1994.
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