The Power of Sympathy Essay

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In the typical slave narrative, the intentions are fairly known. The author has written with a certain willingness that would appeal to the reader emotionally. There is a message behind every tear, or in this case, every page. The slave narrative was used to give others an insight of what they had endured. Grabbing the reader’s sympathy, they also now had the reader’s support (wsu.edu). This reasoning could be seen in several narratives from that off Jacobs, Douglass, and Equiano. The theme of their slave narratives was generally to gain the sympathy of readers and promote their rights as humans.
In the Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano starts right out in the beginning with his story. He starts out with introducing his
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African Americans noted the hypocrisy that sometimes characterized white Christianity, pointing out the contradiction between God's Word and slaveholders' cruelty and inhumanity (docsouth.unc.edu). Having used one of the most common things around them, God, Equiano now was making a very bold statement. Not only was his statement heard, but Jacobs’ as well.
Harriet Jacobs’ slave narrative was quite the powerful message as well. Not only was she speaking from the vantage point as a slave; Harriet had the task of speaking on behalf of female slaves. It was quite astounding that both slave narratives had almost the same sentence. In Jacobs’ In The Life Of A Slave Girl, Jacobs makes the statement that, “My mistress had taught me the precepts of God’s Word: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them”” (Jacobs 283). This is now twice that these slave narratives have enticed readers with a biblical approach. This works well with grabbing their sympathy for their fight to freedom. The slave narratives are using the lessons they were forced to learn, by a religion they were forced to adopt, and now have noticed the ignorance and used it to their benefit. The bible teaches to love one another; however, those same Christians are involved in slavery. Giving the reader an even further insight through the eyes of a female slave just was the icing on a sympathy piece of cake—figuratively speaking. Harriet