Truth vs. Fiction in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Uncle Tom's Cabin

Truth vs. Fiction in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Truth vs. Fiction in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Uncle Tom's Cabin

It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction. Perhaps, this is so, as truth wears no veil; it is stark reality. There are no soft edges in truth. Only the most zealous hunters, those willing to meet the sword, actively seek it. The majority, while considering ourselves open to the truth, may only realize it when it comes disguised as something else. In short, it seems that we need to see it as not threatening, but molded and plied into something we can digest. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave is a brilliant and powerful piece which details one of the worst times in American History. After reading Douglass' work, those seeking the truth about slavery could not help but to have been compelled to denounce this institution and those who upheld it. Yet, while there are many who undoubtedly applauded his work, those were difficult times with no easy answers, and truth is relative, at best. In sharp contrast to Douglass' eloquent narrative is Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. This piece of sentimental fiction, while based on factual accounts, offered Americans an idealized view of slavery. The slaves were relatively content with their kind masters, and the vivid images of brutality that Douglass describes are not seen in Uncle Tom's Cabin. However, Stowe, writing from a woman's standpoint, presented her own truth in a context that Americans could relate to at the time. In spite of her gender and subsequent social position, and perhaps because of it, through her fiction, Stowe succeeded in portraying the institution of slavery for the abomination that it was.

Both Uncle Tom's Cabin a...

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Lauter, John. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.

Mieder, Wolfgang. Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You:Frederick Douglass' Proverbial Struggle for Civil Rights . Journal of American Folklore 114 no453 331-57 Summ 2001.

Piacentino, Ed. Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Explicator 58 no3 135-8 Spr 2000.

Stowe, Harriet B. Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.

Stowe, Harriet B. The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin.

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