The Confessions of Nat Turner Essay

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The Confessions of Nat Turner

Throughout history people have published articles and books in order to sway the public to their side. Rulers such as Stalin and Mao used propaganda to keep themselves in power; people such as Thomas Paine used articles in order to start revolution. Thomas R. Gray, author of The Confessions of Nat Turner, had that power when he interviewed Turner. Although The Confessions of Nat Turner is supposedly the words of Turner himself, we have no way to confirm that Gray did not show the information in order to gain greater benefit from it. It is known that the interviewer, Thomas R. Gray, was struggling financially. It is possible that he embellished the story in order to …show more content…

It is more likely that Gray just jotted down notes, bits and pieces, of what Turner actually conveyed to him. After the interview, when Gray was writing the final article for publishing, he put it in words that Turner did not actually say. For example, "As we approached the house we discovered Mr. Richard Whitehead standing in the cotton patch, near the lane fence; we called him over into the lane, and Will, the executioner, was near at hand, with his fatal axe, to send him to an untimely grave."[1] It is unlikely that Turner used those exact words. Turner taught himself how to read and write. He might have had an extensive vocabulary but it is unlikely that he used those exact words. It is more likely that when Gray was filling in the empty spots he did so in his own words, and even sometimes with vocabulary that made Turner into a mad genius. Gray most likely did this so that it would increase the shock value of the story; a better story made for a greater audience, hence more money.

Another possibility is that Gray might have changed the interview in order to get the reading public to adhere to his views on African Americans. Gray was known to have had many slaves at one time in his life. He found

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