In the 19th century the prevalence of slavery had a major impact on the lives of many. The violence, torture, and the overall unhuman lifestyles each African American had to endure is unimaginable when looking at society today in the 21st century. Still, even though it is difficult to fully understand what each and every slave had to go through during the time of white supremacy, there are many novels that help us better understand and sympathize with the African American community. Many books, movies, and stories depict the lives of slaves and the various hardships faced during the gruesome period, however, these stories are often shaped around the hardships of African American adults. Amistad’s Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery,
Nightjohn, a novel written by Gary Paulsen, takes location throughout one of the finest periods of prejudice and racism in American records. Nightjohn is the story of a young slave lady named Sarny. Within the book, Sarny meets any other slave named Nightjohn, he teaches Sarny a way to study and write. Ultimately, after Nightjohn is punished for coaching Sarny, he runs away, however, later he returns to complete coaching Sarny. Sarny failed to accept the fact that she was a slave or the unfairness in opposition to her prevent her from learning. This literary analysis paper, will discuss Gary Paulsen’s use of prejudice, bravery, and freedom to advance his perception of the book, Nightjohn.
In Narrative of the Lift of Frederick Douglass, Douglass succeeds in grasping the attention of his audience by using countless rhetorical strategies, enabling him to portray slavery as it truthfully was. Written 20 years before the Civil War, the memoir served as a tool to influence and alter the minds of those supportive of slavery. While times have changed and slavery has been abolished, the memoir is continually used as a means to remember the past, preventing recurrence.
Ralph Ellison, born March 1, 1914, a member of the Communist party, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was a writer, scholar, and a critic. The Tuskegee graduate, is most known for his book, Invisible Man. His father died while he was young and his mother raised him and his brother alone. In this novel, Ellison utilizes allusion, pathos, and figurative language to effectively write this story.
The story takes place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in America, when desegregation is finally achieved. Flannery O’Connor’s use of setting augments the mood and deepens the context of the story. However, O’Connor’s method is subtle, often relying on connotation and implication to drive her point across.
In the story “Kindred” by Octavia Butler the slaves hardly fought back. The book showed that the slave owners as a whole weren't the entire problem, society was. No matter how much the slaves fought against it in their personal lives it was still widely accepted and enforced. The slaves had virtually no rights and were seen as sub human even when they were freed. Every part of society was against them and fighting back did much more harm than good. Slavery was a long, slow process of dulling. Slaves had the constant fear of physical violence, the threat of losing the ones they love, and endured a life of always being treated as subhuman.
Slavery is wicked and gory and monstrous and that is well known today but during the time it was well known. In Frederick Douglass’s, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass tries to persuade everyone to stop the madness and recognize how awful slavery is; to do this he uses comparison and realization leading to the reader being blown away by this one slave’s life story.
Douglass uses paradox to demonstrate that slavery degragrates the slaverholder. When Douglass under Mr. Sever’s care he described that: “He was less cruel, less profane…He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it.”(Douglass 24). Most slaveholders are characterized to be cruel and inhuman because of the whipping and the way they treated the slaves. However Douglass points out that it is not the fault of the slave owner but because of the slaves since Mr. Sever “[took] no pleasure in it”. He continues to develop the corruption of the slaveholder when Mr. Plummer: “the louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where theblood ran fastest, there he whipped longest.”(Douglass 20). Mr. Plummer is the typical slaverholder is the outcome
The purpose of the opening scene of Black Boy was to set the stage for a tale of hope and perseverance; while growing up in Jim Crow South as an African American. Wright achieves this purpose by recounting an incident that greatly impacted his life, a fire he started as a small child. The incident is prefaced by Wright’s struggle with his family and the lack of security, love and acceptance; “dreading the return of my mother, resentful of being neglected.” This leaves Wright hungry for attention and this leads to an idea, the idea leads to severe consequences. Wright uses personification and metaphors effectively through a first-person view so the reader can feel the severity of the problems. “Smoke was choking me and the fire was licking at
The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass shows the imbalance of power between slaves and their masters. In his book, Douglass proves that slavery is a destructive force not only to the slaves, but also for the slaveholders. “Poison of the irresponsible power” that masters have upon their slaves that are dehumanizing and shameless, have changed the masters themselves and their morality(Douglass 39). This amount of power and control in contact with one man breaks the kindest heart and the purest thoughts turning the person evil and corrupt. Douglass uses flashbacks that illustrate the emotions that declare the negative effects of slavery.
Frederick Douglass’s narrative provides a first hand experience into the imbalance of power between a slave and a slaveholder and the negative effects it has on them both. Douglass proves that slavery destroys not only the slave, but the slaveholder as well by saying that this “poison of irresponsible power” has a dehumanizing effect on the slaveholder’s morals and beliefs (Douglass 40). This intense amount of power breaks the kindest heart and changes the slaveholder into a heartless demon (Douglass 40). Yet these are not the only ways that Douglass proves what ill effect slavery has on the slaveholder. Douglass also uses deep characterization, emotional appeal, and religion to present the negative effects of slavery.
Whether or not a slave narrative is able to persuade its readers of the inhumanities of slavery, the complexities within slave narratives and the discussions they create should not be overlooked. There is power within the act of writing one’s personal journeys and hardships throughout life, and that power gives former enslaved people the opportunity to express their own thoughts while making changes for future generations. Solomon Northup’s 12 Years A Slave gives a heart-wrenching depiction of what slavery was like in America. If the cruel images of the realities of slavery do not affect readers emotionally, then there is at least hope that the logical arguments raised throughout the novel can persuade those who are unwilling to see slavery
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech to the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society. In order to persuade his audience of the evils of slavery and the hypocrisy of the Fourth of July, Douglass utilizes emotional appeal, strong diction, and figurative language.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston can be characterized as an African-American novel; at least, according to Toni Morrison’s criteria for this genre of novel, it can be. Morrison claims that for a novel to be categorized as African-American, it must contain three things: a “community commenting on or responding to the action,” “the presence of an ancestor” who provides insight and wisdom to the main character, and “an oral quality.” This novel contains all three of these criteria in the forms of characters like Nanny Crawford and the porch-sitters, and in Janie’s oral telling of her story to her friend Pheoby Watson. Through these characteristics, Their Eyes Were Watching God makes a connection to traditional African storytelling
During a time of civil unrest caused by racial tensions throughout the country preceding the Civil War, men who were born into captivity and slavery but rose above their background to become a prominent member in their community calling for social reform sometimes wrote what is referred to as a slave narrative. Each author wrote their autobiography for their own reasons, such as proving to the public that they were once a common slave or simply telling their story. Nonetheless, whether intentional or not, these authors often successfully advocated a case against slavery through employing rhetoric to convince both the white and colored audiences that change was needed. Two prominent authors of such slave narratives, Frederick Douglass and Olaudah