A Son Of The Forest

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William Apess broke the mold by writing this autobiography titled A Son of the Forest in 1829, considering it was not a common literary form for his time. Apess also set the bar as the earliest autobiography written and published by a Native American. Throughout the piece we learn his highs and lows, the prejudices he encountered, his different jobs, and his ordainment and success as a minister. Apess was child of a mixed-race shoemaker, and a slave/indentured servant. While he was young his parents split and Apess and his siblings were left in the care of their grandparents. Apess describes his life with grandparents to be awful. He writes that when his grandparents are under the influence of liquor that they would fight and at times would turn on him and his siblings and beat them “in the most cruel manner” (Apess, 5). At one point he writes that his grandmother comes home intoxicated after being out “amongst the whites” and beat him severely. Later he says that the reason for her conduct was caused by something, “I attribute it in a great measure to the whites”. Even though he did not like the whites, Mr. Furman was a white neighbor who gave he and his siblings milk when they were hungry and also attended to his broken arm after his being pushed down the stairs. Apess himself even calls Mr. Furman a good man (60).
Although Apess holds somewhat of a grudge against the white man, his autobiography serves as an honest look into the life of a typical Native American in the
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