U.S. History to 1870 Argumentative Essay Solomon Northup Solomon Northup’s narrative, Twelve Years as a Slave, provides great insight into the daily life of a slave to appropriately show that slavery was inhuman. The slave narrative was written to describe the life of Northup which included all the trials and tribulations that he endured in order for him to regain freedom. Even though in the early 19th century the life of a slave was insignificant and in turn not well documented. Twelve Years as a Slave opened the eyes of many white men, who were not aware of the pain and anguish African-Americans had to undergo as slaves. Therefore Northup’s book played a great deal in the abolition movement of slavery, because it simply provided an account of the true and complete tragedy of slavery.
Treachery and Virtue in “Oroonoko or The Royal Slave” Treachery and Virtue are two things that often times do not go together. They in fact contradict one another completely. However, in Oroonoko these two themes play a very important role in the development of the story as a whole. They are the basis for this paper and they teach the reader that if a man’s word is not his bond and he allows himself to be consumed with only self gratification, then that man will abandon his virtues and often become a treacherous person. Because this novel was written during a period in history that dealt with the injustices of slavery, this paper will take on the aspect of a sociological criticism.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and The Showman and the Slave: Race, Death, and Memory in Barnum’s America are two compelling tales of racial and class prejudice, the exploitation of black people, and the as well as the influence of the capitalist mass media in shaping opinion. Through a skillful use of depiction, both Davis and Reiss recover and retell the stories of Barnum, Heth, and Douglass from host primary sources. Reiss’s text is a result of newspaper accounts, court records, letters, drawings, pamphlets, and diaries. Both scholars capitalized on the use of autobiographies, one from Barnum and the other from Frederick Douglass. In piecing together the history and story told by the different primary sources used, Davis and Reiss paints a picture of people looking at history, at the black body, at social class, at slavery, at performance, at religion, at death, and at themselves.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, published in 1845, is the autobiographic work, which reveals details of the life of Frederick Douglass, and the numerous injustices he, as an African American and former slave, faced in the course of his life. A self-taught orator, Douglass masters the art of writing and communication better than most in the pages of his book, and thus provides the story with realism and rationale. His focus throughout was not to gain pity because of his plights, but to show that slavery merely provided the avenue by which his strength could manifest – this being, his use of words. In this regard, the language of the book is very important because it shows the essence of Douglass’ lifestyle; that his language is the manifestation of his life experiences themselves. On the analysis spectrum, it is important to note key devices, which help the reader to understand the diversity of the language and how it affects the audience.
On the other hand, Malcolm X came from and underprivileged home an atmosphere of fear and anger where the seeds of bitterness were planted. The early backgrounds of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were largely responsible for the distinct different responses to American racism. Both men ultimately became towering icons of contemporary African-American culture and had a great influence on black Americans. However, King had a more positive attitude than Malcolm X, believing that through peaceful demonstrations and arguments, blacks will be able to someday achieve full equality with whites. Malcolm X’s despair about life was reflected in his angry, pessimistic belief that equality is impossible because whites have no moral conscience King basically adopted on an integrated philosophy, whereby he felt that blacks and whites should be united and live together in peace.
His prejudice beliefs illuminate the hypocrisy within his culture, and the compulsion of undermining their own heritage. Chestnutt uses the protagonist, Mr Ryder, as a doorway to illustrate the falseness in upholding a certain social supremacy and identity in his short story “The Wife of His Youth.” The story explains the transformation of one African American’s life; gone from being a slave to the Dean of a prestigious society. Mr. Ryder was a highly respected member of the Blue Vein Society, which only allows entry to those who meet their exclusive requirements. The purpose of the society itself was clear: “to establish and maintain correct social standards” and boundaries of exclusivity which will demarcate the domain of “the favored few.” Lorne Fienberg, who has studied closely the role color plays in Chestnutt’s story states that, “The black aspiration towards participation in a new republic assumed several dimensions: political responsibility and voting rights, education, the acquisition of property and wealth, and the cultivation of manners and cultural refinement.” All of these things are what Mr. Ryder aimed to achieve with the Blue Vein society. The lighter the person’s skin was, the more respect and acceptance they will receive from the members of the Blue Vein.
By trying to escape a horrible hardship in his life, which was slavery, he only managed to get himself into more trouble, causing even more hardships. Rebellious experiences are also something Olney says slave narratives must include and Brent does. Brent speaks about a personal rebellious experience against her master, Dr. Flint. “Revenge, and calculations of interest, were added to flattered vanity and sincere gratitude for kindness. I knew nothing would enrage Dr. Flint so much as to know that I favored another; and it was something to triumph over my tyrant even in
In my opinion, the narrative was very well written and it was a great resource when learning about the lives of slaves. Douglass’s Narrative shows how white slaveholders continue slavery by keeping their slaves ignorant. At the time Douglass was writing, many people believed that slavery was a natural state of being. Slave owners keep slaves ignorant of basic facts about themselves, such as their birth date or who their parents were. This ignorance robs children of their natural sense of individual identity.
This meant that the slave owners were starting to feel more nervous about their situation and also they had to make punishment against the blacks that spoke out more stringent so as to scare everyone else into line. This resulted in many aggressive acts between the black slaves and their white masters and there was loss on their farms and many of their crops would perish. This was an economic incentive to give up on slavery. However, the people of the south still made a lot of money from slavery and they were also proud and they did not want to give up on something that had been going on for generations. Another key element to the abolition of slavery was the U.S. Constitution and how it treated slavery differently in every state.
“It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes” Dunbar uses assonance here. The mask hide the real feelings and emotions of the people. Dunbar also uses another metaphor, “This debt we pay to human guile” he does not mean that there is a debt to human guile that he is paying with money, but rather since blacks have always been seen as deceptive since slave times, they must forever live in it. “With torn and bleeding hearts we smile” this depicts how they continue to act as if nothing is wrong even though they are dying and burning on the inside. “We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries” and “To thee from tortured souls arise.” Dunbar cries