Slave Narratives as Abolitionist Arguments Essay

Slave Narratives as Abolitionist Arguments Essay

Length: 1809 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

From the period of Antebellum America up into the present time, many documents and pieces of work have been published regarding the abolition of slavery and slavery in general. Regarding the abolition of slavery, slave narratives were one of the ways to get readers first hand look at accounts of slavery and in turn were a big part of abolitionist movements. In class we have read three of the great slave narratives and there are abolitionist themes that can be traces through all three of them. These themes argued against slavery and were used to persuade their readers to support the abolition of slavery. Although there were many similar themes through out the narratives I will be focusing on just two of the most effective ways that argue for the abolition of slavery: slavery seen as a slow poison, and emotion through extreme cruelty and suffering.
The argument of slavery portrayed as a “slow poison” can be seen throughout the three narratives that are the basis for this paper. The “slow poison” being that slavery is a slow poison that effects not only blacks and whites but everyone around and subjected to slavery. The most obvious people that are effected by slavery are the slaves but there are many examples of whites and their families being effected by slavery also. The Epps family from Twelve Years a Slave is a good example of how slavery can tear apart a family. Mr. and Mrs. Epps were happily married until their marriage became challenged by Mr. Epp’s liking to a slave girl named Patsey. Mrs. Epps became jealous over their relationship and over time their marriage became broken and Mr. Epps became an alcoholic to deal with his marriage and his near constant whipping of his slaves. Mrs. Epp’s jealousy and hatred for Patsey c...

... middle of paper ...

...“slow poison” argument the author were able to relate to the readers own lives in many of the situations and show that slavery is bad for everyone and not just the slaves. The authors also include several instances of extreme cruelty and suffering which engages that readers emotions and get them thinking more about the treatment of slaves and abolition. With these two arguments being found throughout the three slave narratives it should be easy for any reader to see that slavery is wrong and join the abolitionists.

Works Cited

Brown, William Wells. From Fugitive Slave to Free Man: The Autobiographies of William Wells Brown. 1st ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1996. Print.

Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. New York: Oxford UP, 1988. Print.

Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. Auborn: Derby and Miller, 1853. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Literary Analysis: Slave Narratives Essays

- Prior to the publication of any slave narrative, African Americans had been represented by early historians’ interpretations of their race, culture, and situation along with contemporary authors’ fictionalized depictions. Their persona was often “characterized as infantile, incompetent, and...incapable of achievement” (Hunter-Willis 11) while the actions of slaveholders were justified with the arguments that slavery would maintain a cheap labor force and a guarantee that their suffering did not differ to the toils of the rest of the “struggling world” (Hunter-Willis 12)....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Powerful Essays
1204 words (3.4 pages)

Frederick Douglass ' Story Of The Great Slave Narratives And A Pivotal Document

- Frederick Douglass’ story is credited as one of the great slave narratives and a pivotal document in the dialogue about slavery in the United States. Douglass’ Narrative of the Life explains the trauma and injustices incurred during his enslavement, shedding a light on the inhumane treatment of enslaved Americans. This text serves as a touchstone of the slave narrative genre. The success of the narrative is in part credited to the authenticity by the endorsement of popular white abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in the preface and the addition of “Written by Himself” in the title....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Powerful Essays
1158 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Slave Narratives And The Slavery

- Slave narratives were extremely important in gathering the support of the white northerners for the abolition of slavery. Former slaves such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and many others gave speeches, published pamphlets, and wrote autobiographies depicting the horrific conditions under which they lived as slaves. The detailed stories of the living conditions and atrocities suffered by these former slaves helped gain support for the anti-slavery movement. Not everyone living in the North condoned slavery and even some of those living in the South were influenced by the stories told by former slaves as well as what they witnessed themselves firsthand....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Abolitionism]

Powerful Essays
1288 words (3.7 pages)

Haunting In American Slave Narratives Essays

- Haunting in American Slave Narratives Both Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depict enslaved women hidden in attics or garrets in pursuit of freedom. These gothic allusions of people haunting or watching over either the town or the plantation are meant to suggest, among other things, a secret minority witness to the life of the slave society. Both stories portray their quests for autonomy in similar and also very different ways....   [tags: Stowe Jacobs Slave Narrative]

Powerful Essays
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Abolitionist and their Plea to End Slavery Essay example

- The famous abolitionist Sojourner Truth, an African-American woman, wrote her famous slave narrative, Narrative of Sojourner Truth: a Northern Slave, to reveal her historical story as a woman slave born in New York. She describes living in cramped courters, never seeing the light of day, being separated from her family and her dangerous escape. She discloses stories of the way slaves were abused by their white slaveholders, “…and on his replying 'yes,' took up a sled-stick that lay near him, and gave him such a blow on the head as broke his skull, killing him dead on the spot....   [tags: Sojourner Truth, Slave Narrative, Literature]

Powerful Essays
867 words (2.5 pages)

Significance Of The Slave Narratives Essay examples

- The Significance of the Slave Narratives The slave narratives also known as freedom or liberation narratives, are stories about the enslaved people. The slave narratives displayed many of the experiences those people went through from growing up as a slave or even being transported to America through the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Often times the stories would be of how they went from slavery in the south to freedom in the north. These stories had many characteristics and they appealed to many different audiences....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Powerful Essays
1364 words (3.9 pages)

The Representation of Family in Slave Narratives Essay

- In this essay I intend to delve into the representation of family in the slave narrative, focusing on Frederick Douglas’ ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave’ and Harriet Jacobs ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.’ Slave narratives are biographical and autobiographical stories of freedom either written or told by former slaves. The majority of them were ‘told to’ accounts written with the aid of abolitionist editors between 1830 and 1865. An amount of narratives were written entirely by the author and are referred to as authentic autobiographies....   [tags: freedom, dehumaization, feelings]

Powerful Essays
523 words (1.5 pages)

The Power of Slave Narratives Essay

- The Power of Slave Narratives: The influence of Fredrick Douglass and his struggle for emancipation will always be a source of inspiration. Douglass’ history, as articulated in The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, has a remained an influential element on those seeking liberation from oppression and has maintained a tangible position in African-American popular culture. Douglass demonstrates the availability of counter hegemonic ideologies but also provides a guide to achieving corporeal and racial agency....   [tags: Analysis, Fredrick Douglass]

Powerful Essays
1903 words (5.4 pages)

Essay about Slave Narratives

- 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....   [tags: Thematic Analysis, Discrimination]

Powerful Essays
869 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Slave Narratives

- Slave Narratives The Classic Slave Narratives give a fascinating, not to mention horrifying, account of the lives of four different slaves: Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, Fredrick Douglass, and Linda Brent. These slave narratives tell of four African Americans, who went through very troubling times. The lives of these slaves are all similar in one way or another, but are also very different and unique. These accounts help people to realize what the slaves went through, and how hard life actually was for them....   [tags: American History Slavery Comparison]

Powerful Essays
1717 words (4.9 pages)