Douglass and Jacobs: The Autobiographies Of Two Escaped Slaves

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Perhaps the most fascinating elements of these narratives to me were the discrepancies in attitude that both authors note regarding religious slave owners, and the differences that exist between religion and Christianity, and how those differences manifested themselves in the people of the north and south.

To say that there are parallels in contemporar The two works in this compendium complement each other fantastically, and both are unbelievable stories that simply must be read and experienced. To say that there are parallels in contemporary society seems to me to be an understatement. These are important works that are not just historical in nature, but are rather disturbingly, perhaps depressingly, relevant to the world we live in today. I highly recommend that anyone curious about what our world once looked like, and to a certain extent still does, should check these works out.

We all have a lot to learn. I wish I could say that Frederick Douglass' autobiography deals with a problem that has long since passed; however, I can see parallels to our own time particularly in the way that religion, specifically Christianity, was used as justification for injustice and oppression.

Many of Douglass' owners were "devout" Christians, yet they would not hesitate to put men and women under the lash. They even have scripture that backed them up. For example see Luke Would we have learned by now the lessons Douglass teaches. Dec 12, Grace Munro rated it it was amazing.

I give out stars very sparingly--generally I give 4 stars if I think the book is really excellent, and 5 if it's one of the very best books I've ever read.

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If I were to critique these two books separately, I would give Douglass 5 and Jacobs 4. They're both wonderful, harrowing narratives, but I found Douglass' to be more concisely elemental. Absolutely no complainant with Jacobs' book, though. The relationship between her and her daughter I found to be particularly heart-rending. It's interestin I give out stars very sparingly--generally I give 4 stars if I think the book is really excellent, and 5 if it's one of the very best books I've ever read. It's interesting to read both of these books, to get a better understanding of how slavery affected men and women differently.

Even the writing styles between the two are very different, reflecting the stylistic differences between men and women writers at the time. Jul 09, Mont rated it really liked it Shelves: This autobiography reveals what slavery was like for black women. Harriet Jacobs endured sexual abuse and the loss of the two children she bore by a white man before she escaped to New York.


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Nov 28, C rated it it was amazing Shelves: Once again, humans are terrible beings, they did horrible thing but seperating men because of his skin color? That's insane and stupid. I felt sorry for all the black people who lived in those days, their test was the one of the hardest. May 13, Barbara rated it really liked it. A classic piece of Americana and one I wouldn't have gotten around to if Shannon hadn't brought it home from college and abandoned it here.

Two amazing accountings of slave experiences, both male and female, that are both humbling and inspiring, both as literature and as human stories. Sep 11, CrazyBookworm99 rated it it was amazing. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter as soon as i'd put it down. Jul 03, Anitra rated it it was amazing. A brilliantly written account that takes you back in time. Aug 28, Louise rated it liked it Shelves: Oct 05, KappaBooks rated it really liked it Shelves: Both of these works were awe-inspiring, both giving different perspectives to the lives of slaves.

A definite recommendation for anyone interested in that part of history. Mar 15, Kenny Williams rated it it was amazing. Douglass is a clear written and his narrative doesn't need to be defended. This book provides a real glimpse into a part of American history that can feel distant or ignored today. Oct 31, Assad Alam rated it liked it. The autobiography, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, was personally a pain to read, but worth reading. The book is based on the life of a slave named Douglass. He faces many hardships in his life, and overcomes them by being cunning and secretive to the people around him.

Douglass has the challenge of facing slavery head on with no support, and he makes it out of slavery alive with from the courage and determination from his yearning to become a free man. The world today may see this The autobiography, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, was personally a pain to read, but worth reading. The world today may see this book as an inspiration to follow up on their own challenges.


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  8. Frederick Douglass was more of a figure of inspiration to those who lack courage. I liked the fact that Douglass proved society wrong by learning how to read and write when he was told not to, and to add on, he taught himself how to read rather than have someone tell him the casual step by step way to learn. I gave it a 3 out of 5 on the accountability of it being very long in chapter length. The book is good, but its long chapters make it hard to focus and stay on point to what the story is really trying to say. In my opinion, the best part of the book would have to be when Douglass gets physically involved with Mr.

    His fight with Mr.

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    Covey was the turning point in the book for it gave people like me an eye opening moment on how Douglass brought up the power to stand up against a white man while knowing all the consequences of doing so. The autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, was an alright read for me. This book is about a girl named Harriet Jacobs. She calls herself Linda and hides the identity of everyone else in the book. This is because the book was written during the time where slavery was still allowed, and if slave owners had read this book, they could have pin pointed who had done certain disregarded acts based on their time.

    I personally did not like this book, but credited it for its ideas and approach to these ideas. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl gave a perspective of a slave women who was a mulatto. This was not common during the era for a mulatto to give her side of the story. I gave this book a 3 out of 5 as well because it was good, but it had its fair share of flaws in my opinion. The story engaged the readers, but it strayed away from the the story as the main characters thoughts and perspective took a good chunk out of the read.

    The best part of this book would have to be when Jacobs decides to fool Dr. Flint into believing she ran away, when she was right under his nose the entire time. This was truly an act of brilliance in my mind because the safest place to your enemy is usually the closest. It surprises me as to how she was in the place many people suspected her to be in, yet those people never chose to take the initiative to look. The book is certainly good for its morals and themes, but I would personally rather read a different genre. Nov 08, Briah Charles rated it really liked it. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Reading this narrative, it had it's ups and downs while reading.

    Some moments there was a connection with the characters of the book, where one can feel the pain a slave did, when they were whipped just because the slaveholders felt like getting violent. But the major downs of the narrative was that, some points of the book where long and drawn out where the focus and concentration began to decrease. It is a very informative narrative text, because wh Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: It is a very informative narrative text, because when someone hears the name Frederick Douglass, the first thing that comes to mind is, the man who taught himself how to read.

    As for hearing the details piece by piece of they way his life was mapped out during the reading, there is a different perspective on his name. Frederick Douglass, was not just a man who taught himself how to read, but he was a man who was very rebellious. This narrative gets its four stars, because it is very informative for the people with the one single topic that he is always given credit for as a man who gained his own freedom. The enjoyment of reading this narrative is that it's more than educational,boring, it's a piece of history that Americans today forget about, when you think of where you came from.

    So i thought that the frederick Douglass narrative is worth it's four stars. It's not a complete five start book due to the information that is just long and drawn out. During the narrative of Harriet Jacobs, i thought it gave me many different types of feelings. At first I thought it was very good, it drew me in with in the first few pages, but after a while it began to lose me.

    I also had the feeling of being trapped when she was hiding out in the very cramped den in her grandmothers home. Those moments i actually felt bad, because running away to be free from her master I don't think that was the right place for that. I wanted to cry when her children were separated from her. I gained a connection with Harriet during her struggles. But the many parts when nothing happened and nothing drew my attention, I did not think that those parts were needed.

    In the second part of this narrative, was a bit better than the Frederick Douglass narrative, because there is a different role given the slave women, as they were treated differently from the male slaves. This part shows the contrast from the males of slavery to the female of slavery. I thought overall that the narratives were very usual tool for knowledge of my ancestors. Oct 31, Laury A rated it liked it.

    Even though it was a very short book, I believe that Douglass did an okay way of explaining how he lived his life during the times of slavery. He explains to his audience how he was taken away from his mother at a very young age so he was not attached to her. I believe that Douglass could have done a better job explaining how he was treated, what he did about it, and how he overcame everything.

    He was very blunt about how he displayed his information, which caused the book to not be as exciting as it could have been. From my point of view, I believe that Douglass could have given the readers more information about his life style, the people who helped him, and how how he became an abolitionist in the north.

    Even though Jacobs lived on a rich plantation, her life was dreadful because she was an attraction to her master, Dr. Jacobs took the pseudonym in the book as Linda where she told her entire story from when she was first approached by her master who is about forty years her senior. I believe that Jacobs did an exquisite job telling her story to the world. It was a story of encouragement to other slaves to escape, and it was a story that would help Caucasians in the north who were anti-slavery to see how her life was like.

    Even though these two books were about slavery, and were very inspiring, I did not like them very much because of the simple fact that it was long and depressing. I believe that it is a very inspiring book, but I did not like it very much. Personally, I liked Harriet Jacobs' story because she did a better job explaining how things happened between her, her family, and her master.

    Jacobs was not vague, but gave a lot of details , which is always good for the reader to have. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about slavery,and would like to know how things were like back then through the perspectives of a slave. Sep 24, John added it. Having read his story, it makes sense that we give Douglass the air of a kind of second generation of Founding Fathers, along with Lincoln. The man speaks in ideals and holds onto his shred of optimism with a death grip. Having just read Douglass, I was expecting defiance and action. This was a surprise, but it should not be taken that I mean to cheapen her experience somehow.

    The result is that, while not as powerful or thoughtful as Douglass, Jacobs gives an account of herself — warts included — that is more human and a story that is more open-ended, not necessarily the best thing for a story, but more honest to real life than a story is. Slave narratives and students. What do they tell us about life in our own time? Another way to study the narratives fruitfully is to see the many different expressive purposes they embody.

    They functioned in their own time as propaganda as well as autobiography, as Jeremiad as well as melodrama. Can they show students how to imagine their own selfhood and circumstances through writing personal stories that takes them, through trials and struggles, on a journey to freedom and fulfillment? Can the slave narratives show students how to argue forcefully for what they believe in, how to attack major problems in their society? Few writers illustrate better, through more powerful voices, the threat to as well as the promise of the American dream of freedom.


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    This is perhaps the most important legacy they have left for students to ponder. After the Civil War ended, the narratives written by fugitive slaves inevitably lost much of their attraction for most readers.

    The most important of these early historians, Ulrich B. In Benjamin Quarles published the first modern biography of Douglass, which was followed in by the first volume of what was ultimately a 5 volume work from Phillip Foner: Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass. These texts were part of the new consciousness that began the Civil Rights movement in the s, and the black studies programs that followed in the s and 70s brought about more re-evaluations asserting the centrality of the slave narratives to American literary history.

    Incidents began receiving new interest with a edition published by Harcourt Brace. Davis and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Andrews's definitive To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, marked a significant new stage in the study of the written antebellum slave narrative. U of Illinois P, Her aunts, uncles, cousins, her grandmother, and especially her children gave her strength and stamina at all times, and her family was a main concern throughout the entire narrative.

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    Whereas in Douglass autobiography, no such strong family ties are portrayed. In the three autobiographies that he wrote he provides a different account of his father. Filled with grief and anger, she cynically posed the question. She always met us with a smile, and listened with patience to all our sorrows. Even though Jacobs did not always agree with her grandmother in every single matter, the importance of aunt Marthy for her cannot be overestimated. In contrast to Jacobs, Douglass did not enjoy the support of such an invaluable companion.

    Although Douglass also had a grandmother, he failed to maintain contact with her, since she lived far away. As far as his two sisters and his brother are concerned, Douglass notes that the early separation from their mother tainted their relationship in their memories. Not only did Douglass not have such strong family ties like Jacobs. He also had to undergo a traumatic experience as a young boy when witnessing the bloody whipping and torture of his aunt Hester. Intelligent, self-sufficient, quick-witted, pious, protective, nurturing, and morally strict, Aunt Marthy is also wise, noble, and courageous.

    Aunt Marthy herself is an outraged mother. Skilled in the use of invective and insult, as well as silence, Aunt Marthy successfully confronts Dr. Aunt Marty is, in short, the bearer of a system of values as well as the carrier of the female version of the black heroic archetype. English - Literature, Works. American Studies - Literature. English Language and Literature Studies - Literature. Communications - Movies and Television. Communications - Technical Communication. Politics - International Politics - Topic: American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography.