Fredrick Douglass’s & Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Use of Persuasion Harriet Beecher Stowe and Fredrick Douglass have 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 main purpose of bringing attention to the issue of cruelty among slavery. Stowe’s story is fiction, although I believe that it is an accurate representation 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’s 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. Yet for the writers themselves, the opportunity to tell their stories constituted of something more personal: a means to write an identity within a country that legally
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In this paper I will compare the writings of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass. I will touch on their genre, purpose, content, and style. Both authors were born into slavery. Both escaped to freedom and fought to bring an end to slavery, each in their own way. Both Jacobs and Douglass have a different purpose for their writings.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Phillis Wheatley, and Sojourner Truth were without a doubt, 3 very strong, powerful, and a unique group of intellectual women. Each woman ultimately had an undeniable force with being able to provide readers fascinating pieces of literature to inform their stories. They each lived in an era in history where equality was nonexistent. They were able to speak towards their own personal beliefs within their pieces of literature. Each displayed to their readers their different views, and even their different beliefs and personal thoughts towards slavery. Although they all spoke towards the same topic of slavery, they each shared very contrasting opinions towards the topic at hand.
In a Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave written by himself, the author argues that no one can be enslaved if he or she has the ability to read, write, and think. Douglass supports his claim by first providing details of his attempts to earn an education, and secondly by explaining the conversion of a single slaveholder. The author’s purpose is to reveal the evils of slavery to the wider public in order to gain support for the abolition of his terrifying practice. Based on the purpose of writing the book and the graphic detail of his stories, Douglass is writing to influence people of higher power, such as abolitionists, to abolish the appalling reality of slavery; developing a sympathetic relationship with the
Since the beginning of writing, literature has played a pivotal role in shaping the history of the world. The same holds true when referring to the early American history topic of slavery. Many abolitionists wrote in hopes that their views will persuade people in America to take a stand against slavery. While there were many authors that led the anti-slavery movement, the most successful writers were the slaves that lived through this atrocious time period and were able to recall their experiences. Two prominent authors during this time period were Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. While the two writers shared many common experiences due to their time being a slave, they also had had a variety of differences. Harriet Jacobs wrote mostly wrote in a way that appealed to people’s emotions and focused on what a woman goes through as a slave; whereas Douglass focused on freedom and manhood.
The phrase “art imitates life” can be used to describe many works of literature. Authors and the stories they write are often influenced by the changing world around them along with the evolution of new perspectives and ways of thinking regarding a subject. While this may sound simply like a common literary trope, it is of great importance and significance in many genres of literature. None has this been more apparent than in both the anti-slavery and women’s empowerment movement of the early to mid-1800s. Two major influence authors in their respective subjects, Frederick Douglass and Fanny Fern, were heavily influenced by the changing societal trends of the time of which they expressed through their writing. Douglass’s speech in particular “What to a Slave is the 4th of July?” was heavily influenced by Douglass’s own personal experience as a slave as well as the rising prominence of the abolitionist movement in the United States. By referencing the contradictory nature of the Constitution relegating personal freedoms exclusively to white, property owning males, Douglass bluntly references the systematic inequalities faced by people of color in the United States. Never would the works of an African American author, especially one challenging the established institution of slavery, gain so much attention if not for the anti-slavery movement and shifting perspectives surrounding it.
Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass both wrote narratives that detailed their lives as slaves in the antebellum era. Both of these former slaves managed to escape to the North and wanted to expose slavery for the evil thing it was. The accounts tell equally of depravity and ugliness though they are different views of the same rotten institution. Like most who managed to escape the shackles of slavery, these two authors share a common bond of tenacity and authenticity. Their voices are different—one is timid, quiet, and almost apologetic while the other one is loud, strong, and confident—but they are both authentic. They both also through out the course of their narratives explain their desires to be free from the horrible practice of slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of the most influential writers from the 19th century. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” brings up many ideals about history and culture. Stowe supports ideals of American exceptionalism such as slavery, christianity, and equality through earlier periods in American history. American identity has been created and explored in literature ranging from the days of the conquistadores and the early settlers to the middle of the nineteenth century. White Americans have had greater opportunities than anyone else since the beginning of time. This may seem racist, but it is the truth. In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the slave owners were all white. The slaves were African American. African-Americans weren’t allowed to own property, have their
Slavery was perhaps one of the most appalling tragedies in the history of The United States of America. To tell the people of the terrible facts, runaway slaves wrote their accounts of slavery down on paper and published it for the nation to read. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs were just two of the many slaves who did this. Each of the slaves had different experiences with slavery, but they all had one thing in common: they tell of the abominable institution of slavery and how greatly it affected their lives. When Douglass was seven years old, he was sent to a new master and mistress, Hugh and Sophia Auld. Sophia was a very kind and affectionate woman, probably one of the nicest people Douglass
The 1830s marked a drastic change in character in activists, when instances went from being small and ineffective, to great, nation-changing campaigns. The abolitionists’ movements after the 1830s irrefutably had huge impacts in the United States in various aspects, aspects such as politics, society/equality, and even in culture. The abolitionists were more fervent in their expression of disproval with slavery, and many abolitionist icons expressed themselves through literature. William Lloyd Garrison and Fredrick Douglass along with their publications in the newspaper, the Liberator, sparked a flame against slavery in the hearts of many Americans that may have had either a neutral position or even a proslavery opinion thus turning the tides towards abolition. Another person who, through literacy, aided in the strengthening of the abolitionist party was Harriet Beacher Stowe with her publication of the illustrious novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” This book not only changed the views of countless people but also influenced the literary aspect of the nation, for to
His philosophy of “moral suasion” guided the anti-slavery movement to reveal the humanity and gruesome lives of slaves, through literature and writings. In 1831, Garrison began publishing the “prophetic” newspaper The Liberator, to gain support against the ignominious slave institution. The Liberator contained persuasive articles, denouncing the proslavery laws passed by Congress and the political and social freedom ignorance of the African Americans. The enlightened public discerned the propriety of extending freedom and equality to people of any race/skin color. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s controversial novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, questioned the morality of slavery and stirred the conscience of the nation. Through the fictional, enslaved character of Uncle Tom and his journey of being sold, severely beaten, and treated like an inanimate object, Stowe broached the radical idea of God’s equal creation of slaves as the “white” population. Slave narratives were detailed slave autobiographies, recounting the heart aching separation from their family, enslaved women’s traumatizing experiences of sex abuse, inhumane and backbreaking labor done in the southern plantations, frequent and brutal floggings, starvation, and the masters’ derogatory, verbal abuse. The Liberator, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and slave narratives were crucial writings in the antebellum battle to attain the emancipation and citizenship of
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Olaudah Equiano’s Narrative of his Life both endeavor to stir antislavery sentiment in predominantly white, proslavery readers. Each author uses a variety of literary tactics to persuade audiences that slavery is inhumane. Equiano uses vivid imagery and inserts personal experience to appeal to audiences, believing that a first-hand account of the varying traumas slaves encounter would affect change. Stowe relies on emotional connection between the readers and characters in her novel. By forcing her audience to have empathy for characters, thus forcing readers to confront the harsh realities of slavery, Stowe has the more effective approach to encouraging abolitionist sentiment in white readers.
Authors often exaggerate or revise small details of their own books in order to produce an emotion in the reader instead of a factual representation. However, this does not make authors to be liers, only fabricators. In times or social unjust it is necessary for the oppressed to voice their opinions for the purpose of gaining equality. As it may seem immoral to twist truths, if done correctly it will strengthen the author's message, without compromising the authenticity of the plot. One can see this in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, along with his, My Bondage and My Freedom. Both novels are accounts of Douglass’ troublesome journey from a slave to a freeman. These heroic accounts served as prominent and respected
Frederick Douglass was arguably the most prominent African American abolitionist during the mid-19th century. He established his notoriety through his narrative entitled Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave published in 1845. Frederick Douglass also produced an African American newspaper, Frederick Douglass' Paper, which highlighted the reception and critiques of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Frederick Douglass praised Uncle Tom's Cabin through not only his writing but in the critiques and letters contained in his newspaper. It is important to look at these reviews to understand Douglass' intentions. However, C.V.S. from the Provincial
During the final years of legal slave ownership in the United States, the slave narrative became a popular way for literate enslaved people to express their anti-slavery stance through their own testimony. Two of the most influential writers on the slave narrative topic were the autobiographical authors Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. Since Douglas and Jacobs were both born in a similar time period, there are many similarities found in their works. Douglass’s Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave is closely comparable to Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl when analyzing how they represented their enslavement in their autobiographies. The two authors have similar ideas when portraying their struggles with forced ignorance. Their writing also contains parallels with the corrupting power of slavery for the slave owners, as well as the parallels in pointing out the hypocrisies of using the bible to defend slavery. These similarities can be explained in part due to Douglass and Jacobs following the same basic slave narrative outline to maintain the shared goal of abolishing slavery in the United States.
One was the best seller that captured all audiences, the other an unfiltered narrative telling of the slavery experience, although contrasting, both caused tensions that led to their popularity and why they are still read today. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a novel about a slave who embarks on a journey south and discovers how slavery is different in the disparate parts of the south. Meanwhile, Eliza, a mulatto enslaved woman runs away to ensure a better life for her son Harry by fleeing to Canada. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a narrative written by a former slave who became an abolitionist. Similarly to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it depicts the dehumanizing effects of slavery upon the master and likewise the slave. Both stories illustrate how misconceptions and faith in religion play a role in confusing as well as giving hope to the characters described. These two stories can be contrasted as you may contrast Martin Luther King and Malcolm X; one portrays a more moderate tone while the other gives us the full fledged exhibit of slavery. Although they are both unique and tell different stories of the lives of enslaved African Americans and their masters, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as well as Frederick Douglass’s The Narrative and Life of Frederick Douglas both capture the essence of slavery in the 1800s and give us two points of view of religion and the dehumanizing effects of slavery.