Analysis Of Vladimir Nabokov's Good Readers And Good Writers

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Vladimir Nabokov in his essay, “Good Readers and Good Writers,” talks about six different criteria for what makes up a good writer. They are: deceiver, magician, inventor, teacher, storyteller, and enchanter, and Fredrick Douglas in his narrative on when he was a slave, does not meet all of these criteria. “Every great writer is a great deceiver, but so is that arch-cheat Nature,” (Nabokov 1028). As a deceiver himself in his writing, Douglas does not make a large impression, he does a little deceiving in a small way, but it comes off as an undersight carrying an implicit meaning than an intentional deceiving for the sake of his narrative. “I have had two masters,” this is deceiving as he has served five men for terms of time, Anthony; Hugh …show more content…
But he was the little magician. He was the inventor,” (Nabokov 1028). Douglas falls short on this mark as a writer, as he doesn’t do any shifting of attention or anything along those lines during his narrative, however as a character in his own narrative he is a brief sort of magician “It was understood, among all who came, that there must be as little display about it as possible. It was necessary to keep our religious masters at St. Michael’s unacquainted with the fact, that, instead of spending the Sabbath in wrestling, boxing, and drinking whisky, we were trying to learn how to read..,” (Douglas 81), this would fall under magician under the lines of how he is teaching several slaves, not just those under his current master’s ownership, in the vicinity of where he is during this time in his narrative in what can only be assumed to be secrecy. This is a dangerous trick in how teaching slaves to become literate is highly illegal to begin with, but how it is also tied to eventual liberation of slaves, so as a character he does live up to the magician role; albeit shakily, but since this is not a ploy used in his actual writing, it falls under himself as a …show more content…
But he was the little magician. He was the inventor,” (Nabokov 1028). Douglas does meets the mark of inventor as a writer, as well as a character, even more so as a character in his narrative then when he is writing it, but in both he does. “The week before our intended start, I wrote several protections, one for each of us.” (Douglas 87), when Douglas and his fellow slaves are planning to escape, he forges writs of protection in case if either him or his companions are stopped and questioned about their destination. As a writer the reason he met the criteria as an inventor, is how he wrote a narrative on slavery, in the point of view as a slave during the time of slavery, when such a thing would be hard to find published, if even privately as a journal or in some other

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