Frederick douglass and harriet jacobs essay

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Help Login Sign Up. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are two authors with very similar backgrounds. Both Douglass and Jacobs were slaves, and both wrote about the accounts they went through while enslaved. Douglass's work is directed towards anyone willing to listen, and emphasized the fact that slavery was evil and dehumanized those of the African American race. Jacobs aims her work towards upper class white women because she feels they will have sympathy for how she was treated because she is also a female.

Both writers wrote about the hardships of slavery, but their stories are different due to the fact that Douglass is a male and Jacobs is a female. The major similarity that both writers have is their hatred of the harsh treatment slaves had to endure.

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Harriet Ann Jacobs - Wikipedia

Both writers feel slavery brings a person down and weakens the spirit of the African American race. Both narratives present similar problems and convey similar messages to the audience. Both authors lived during the same decade and had to endure slavery in regions of the South, Maryland and South Carolina, respectively, where slavery was asserted in the most radical and merciless manner.

At first they did not feel very comfortable writing or talking about their experiences as slaves to a largely white auditorium, but they eventually became leaders in the abolitionist movement. Like many other slaves, Douglass and Jacobs had to suffer from the early loss of their mothers.


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This happened at the age of six or seven, at which time they first began to realize their status as slaves. During their later childhood years, for example, they shared a common experience, namely a beneficial relationship with a kind mistress who taught them to read and write. At the time this was a privilege, rarely falling to the lot of a slave cf.

Jacobs 8. As we shall see later on in chapter three, literacy was to become one of the determining factors for both their physical and intellectual emancipation. Moreover, literacy eventually played a very important role in their decision to escape.

Harriet Jacobs

Nevertheless, most of the experiences and incidents portrayed in their narratives can be viewed as representative of the nineteenth century Afro American slave. Some of the most important distinguishing features shall be discussed in the following chapters. Even in the most hopeless moments in her narrative Jacobs describes that she always enjoyed, and was supported by the presence of a caring family around her.


  1. Essay about Slavery: Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglas | Bartleby;
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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. Whereas in Douglass autobiography, no such strong family ties are portrayed.

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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.

Melodrama’s Breakdowns: Generic Subversion and Harriet Jacobs

Donald B. 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.

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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. Douglass 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. Braxton 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.