The Purpose of Slave Narratives

Frederick douglass narrative of the life of an american slave essay cover letter photoshop

The authors base the structure of their fictional work on the oral histories and existing slave narratives to make sure that the story would still echo true events in the historical sense. The birth of this sub-set of the slave narrative genre may be attributed to the void that it fills, or attempts to fill. Anita Wholuba in her paper said that the chasm which is attempted to be explored and filled is the ironic presence of silence in slave narratives, despite of the voice earned by the slave narrative writers.

Compare and contrast two slave narratives from two different states.
Remember to explain what details and experiences these ex-slaves gave in describing the institution of slavery and the practice of slavery. Compare the two narratives for similarities and differences.

In the Declaration of Independence of Thomas Jefferson on 4-7-1776, there was an idea that all humans are born equally. However, what is the fact? Even at that time and many years later, the life of blacks in America was the life of the slave. They were involved in every step of America. They were a part of the important events in American history. Moreover, they contributed to the struggle for independence. Furthermore, especially in the US economy, the role of black slaves was very important. However, their living situation was extremely poor; they worked in mines, construction, farms and so on. They enriched America, but even they were not considered to be man, citizens. Therefore, the slaves created their narrative to talk about their live and situations at that time. “Narratives of slavery recounted the personal experiences of ante-bellum African Americans who had escaped from slavery and found their way to safety in the North” (Campbell).

Frederick douglass narrative of the life of an american slave essay

Sojourner Truth
Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave, Emancipated from Bodily Servitude by the State of New York, in 1828 (1850)

Frederick douglass narrative of the life of an american slave essay

The horror of the situation in antebellum South of America then was clearly depicted in this specific scene. Dana’s reaction to what she witnessed represents the reactions of her fellow African-Americans and of people from different nations who oppose such inhumane violent inflictions. As Butler effectively mixed fiction and narrative in this novel, the outcome of the story-telling was as much effective as it was sincere. Another trait that must be found in the text is the element of a triggering event that pushes the slave to escape to be considered a neo-slave narrative.

Examples of other slave narratives:

Frederick douglass narrative of the life of an american slave essay religion in the usa articles

Just as owners used the formation of family ties to their own advantage, abolitionists used the specter of separation to argue against the institution of slavery. Frederick Douglass, who was enslaved in Maryland before he escaped to Massachusetts and became an abolitionist stridently working to end slavery, began the narrative of his life by examining the effect of slavery on his own family. He never knew his father, he said, although he “heard it whispered” that it was his owner. Further, he lived with his grandmother, while his mother lived and worked miles away, walking to see him late at night. In his narrative, aimed at an abolitionist audience, Douglass suggested that slaveowners purposefully separated children from their parents in order to blunt the development of affection between them. Similarly, white northern novelist and abolitionist, Harriet Beecher Stowe used the sale and separation of families as a sharp critique of slavery in her famous novel, Abolitionists such as Douglass and Stowe argued that slavery was immoral on many grounds, and the destruction of families was one of them.

Slide 10 Federal Writer’s Project Slave Narratives

From Frances Smith Foster, [2d. ed., 1994] "The plot of the nineteenth-century slave narrative is informed by the Judeo-Christian mythological structure on both the material and the spiritual levels. The action moves from the idyllic life of a garden of Eden into the wilderness, the struggle for survival, the providential help, and the arrival into the Promised Land. In addition, the plot of the slave narrative incorporates the parallel structure of birth into death and death into birth which also distinguishes the Judeo-Christian myth" (84).


The Slave Narrative. Beginning in the mid-18th century and continuing through the twentieth, slave narratives were published in the United States and England.

Figure 2: All words described as cruel, filtered (by clicking) on the word “master”. The visualization creates an explorable picture of the sources of cruelty in a slave’s life as reflected by the narratives in the collection.

What is the turning-point in a slave narrative

Video embeddedBorn Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on Maryland Douglass immortalized his years as a slave in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Kindred as a neo-slave narrative With the plot and simple and direct language employed by Butler, ..

Jacob D. Green
Narrative of the Life of J.D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky. Containing an Account of His Three Escapes, in 1839, 1846, and 1848 (1864)

The Slave Narrative – Usa Online Essays

Beginning in the mid-18th century and continuing through the twentieth, slave narratives were published in the United States and England. The slave narrative became a popular literary genre in the antebellum United States with the growing political movement known as abolitionism. The slave narrative, then, is the primary antebellum genre for African American writers. Thus, slave narratives are an essential part of American literary history, but also provide social commentary, powerful political critiques of 19th century culture. Originally intended as tools for the abolitionist press, slave narratives were used to encourage whites in the North to join the abolitionist cause, to bring about the end of slavery.