African American Literature Midterm Exam
1. Define who Frederick Douglass was and provide a summary of his book, narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass: an American slave 1845. Frederick Douglass was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. Frederick Douglass was the most important black American leader of the nineteenth century. He was born in February of the 1818 and died February 20, 1895. Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all peoples, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave published in 1845, less than seven years after Douglass escaped from slavery. Douglass immortalized his years as a slave in the book.
2. Explain the following for each bullet:
Purpose of slave narratives- Slave narratives started back in the 1830 until 1860, were written with a purpose. They portrayed the suffering of millions of people all over the world at the time. It was to make people put themselves on the spot of the slaves, and so people would realize how bad life was for slaves, so hopefully people would be sympathetic or empathetic and would be against slavery! In his narrative The Life of Frederick Douglass the former slave describes the pitiful rations of food received by the enslaved.
3. Explain the following regarding the Harlem Renaissance (1919-1940)
Definition- Harlem Renaissance, a cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place
Picture this going through life without the ability to read or write. Without these abilities, it is impossible for a person to be a functioning member of society. In addition, imagine that someone is purposely limiting your knowledge to keep a leash on your independence. Not only is an American slave raised without skills in literacy, he cannot be taught to read unless someone breaks the law. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the reader is given a detailed explanation of why slave masters keep their slaves ignorant and the effects such a strategy has on the slaves’ lives. In his autobiography, Douglass describes how the knowledge he obtains has substantial positive and negative effects on his psyche. He is given renewed passion and hope for freedom while struggling with the burden of enlightenment of his situation. Ultimately, however, education shapes his fate, and he achieves freedom and prominence as an advocate for abolition.
The tone established in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is unusual in that from the beginning to the end the focus has been shifted. In the beginning of the narrative Douglass seems to fulfill every stereotypical slavery theme. He is a young black slave who at first cannot read and is very naïve in understanding his situation. As a child put into slavery Douglass does not have the knowledge to know about his surroundings and the world outside of slavery. In Douglass’ narrative the tone is first set as that of an observer, however finishing with his own personal accounts.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass details the oppression Fredrick Douglass went through before his escape to freedom. In his narratives, Douglass offers the readers with fast hand information of the pain, brutality, and humiliation of the slaves. He points out the cruelty of this institution on both the perpetrator, and the victims. As a slave, Fredrick Douglass witnessed the brutalization of the blacks whose only crime was to be born of the wrong color. He narrates of the pain, suffering the slaves went through, and how he fought for his freedom through attaining education.
Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist who altered America's views of slavery through his writings and actions. Frederick's life as a slave had the greatest impact on his writings. Through his experience as a slave, he developed emotion and experience for him to become a successful abolitionist writer. He experienced harsh treatment and his hate for slavery and desire to be free caused him to write Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In his Narrative, he wrote the story of his miserable life as a slave and his fight to be free. His motivation behind the character (himself) was to make it through another day so that maybe one day he might be free. By speaking out, fighting as an abolitionist and finally becoming an author,
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave was written by Douglass himself, giving a detailed description of the slaveholders cruelty. Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland, and he makes known that he does not know his specific birthdate, “... no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.” (47), but it was approximately around 1818. Once being enslaved, and then escaping in 1838 he became known as an eloquent speaker for abolitionists, being able to deliver passionate speeches about the role of a slaveholder and their relationship to their slaves, especially since he was one of them. Douglass even discovered the true meaning of the songs sung by enslaved people, “ I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs, I was myself within the circle; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear.” (27). The book is not an easy read for those who believe in equal rights, as Douglass put into painful words the description of brutal whippings, signs of no mercy, and people being taken advantage of because if they had shown mercy they believed they would have lost their dignity.
In the biography of Frederick Douglass written by Nathan Irvin Huggins, covers the life of a magnificent man who lived his life as a slave, only to flee for his freedom to be a foremost advocate against slavery. Douglass was a black leader in the time of hostilities towards his race and became the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement. He fought to end slavery within the United States in the decades prior to the Civil War and even harder after. He was also a great writer, husband and father to four children.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was written in 1845 by Frederick Douglass, an American writer and orator. Douglass’ memoir recounts his time as a slave and his motivation to become a free man. Douglass first realized he was a slave when he sees his master brutalizing his Aunt Hester. He recalls,
Writing in the favor of black people has always remained controversial from the very beginning. Critics regard such writing as “a highly conventionalized genre” indicating that “its status as literature was long disputed but the literary merits of its most famous example such as Frederick Douglass 's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass…are widely recognized today.” (Ryan:537) Despite of such severe resistance, writers like Douglass have penned down their autobiography to present the misery of their fellow beings.
Since ancient times historians always examined artifacts and sources of different writings. The purpose of examining artifacts and writings were to find the time period, the place of its origin and whether they are primary or secondary sources. Primary sources are materials produced by people or groups directly involved in the event/ topic under consideration either as participants or as witness. Some examples of primary sources are decrees, letters, newspapers, journals, birth and death registries etc. Secondary sources are those when a person was not present at the time of the event. Examples of secondary sources may include books, articles etc. Now, this brings to our discussion - is Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass a primary source? Even though people may different opinions about the autobiography of Frederick Douglass being a primary source, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass is a primary source because it mentions his purpose for writing, it clarifies the arguments made by Frederick Douglass, and finally, it illustrates the credibility of the author.
In this book Fredrick Douglass finds shows himself growing up as a slave in Baltimore, Maryland. He eventually escapes from his master and becomes a run away slave as he flees to the north. Douglass however is most popularly known for his pressure on the supreme court to obtain equal rights for African American citizens. He made huge advances in civil rights for his fellow African American brothers and sisters. His contributions have caused a balancing of society that is still getting better to this day.
Frederick Douglass was born in Maryland in 1818 as a slave to a maritime captain, Captain Anthony. After decades of enslavement, Frederick Douglass escaped to the North and became one of the prominent members and drivers of the abolitionist movement. In an effort to provide an eye-opening account of the harsh treatment of slaves, Douglass wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass detailed his life beginning from his meager early years through his escape to the North. In writing his autobiography, Douglass utilized a variety of techniques including the use of the three rhetorical strategies: Ethos, Pathos and Logos to create a powerful and influential argument against the institution of
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is written by the ex-slave Frederick Douglass and recounts his life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man. This edition is edited with an introduction by David W. Blight, an American History teacher.
During the 19th Century, slaves were misrepresented to the general population, or, non-slaveholders as “The freest people of the world” due to the fact, according to Fitzhugh’s article, “They enjoy liberty, because they oppressed neither by care or labor”; However, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, refutes the “facts” commonly given out to the public through a very detailed personal account of Frederick’s life as a young slave growing up between multiple slave plantations in Maryland, and the up-and-coming city of Baltimore. While reading through the Narrative, one might come to the understanding that, only the person on top of history actually writes history, and the narrative is the one of the first well-known documents that
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, depicts a vivid reality of the hardships endured by the African American culture in the period of slavery. One of the many things shown in Frederick's narrative is how slaves, in their own personal way, resisted their masters authority. Another is how slaves were able to create their own autonomous culture within the brutal system in which they were bound. There are many examples in the narrative where Frederick tries to show the resistance of the slaves. The resistors did not go unpunished though, they were punished to the severity of death. Fredrick tells of these instances with a startling sense of casualness, which seems rather
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass perfectly depicts the dreadful experience of living in slavery. From being unsure of the day he was born, to his first beating from a master, to the brutal and exhausting work, and to the joyous day he was freed. Besides describing his experience as a slave, he describes the toll slavery had on the masters and families of slaves. Frederick Douglass also includes his view of education in relation to freedom. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a good excerpt from The Classic Slave Narratives that can be considered a good historical resource due to the historical content it provides about slavery.