Jacobs & Douglass: An Insight Into The Experience of The American Slave

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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. Both narrators show slave narratives in the point of view of both "men and women slaves that had to deal with physical, mental, and moral abuse during the times of slavery." …show more content…

Critics have almost always cited the hunger for literacy as one of the most prominent themes found in slave narratives; scholars repeat that the average slave narratives stress the importance of learning to read and write. Douglass uses irony and a sense of unawareness in his narrative to describe "the toils of women through his aunt’s afflictions but accurately address and interpret," (James 34) these strategies attempt to validate his role as a "fugitive American slave narrator, seeking a written document to prove that"(James 27) he has obviously suggested through language the free territory he claims. The connection for Douglass between the wanting of literacy and personal worth is what he focuses on primarily throughout the narrative. Douglass establishes himself as a man who is deserving of freedom, and that itself is a major significance to other slave narratives. This generalization doesn't extend to the slave narrative written by Harriet Jacobs who focuses on the brutality that women slaves face compared to men slaves. She states many times the fact that women slaves are degraded and treated "less than there worth." (Jacobs 29) Slaves begged for freedom and denounced slavery in every way possible, in "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas", an underlying theme was that slavery was a dysfunctional system that ironically destroyed masters as well as slaves. The narrators of both narratives were detailing the gruesome truths

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