Literary Analysis Of William Wells Brown And The President's Daughter

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William Wells Brown and The President’s Daughter It should be impossible during the nineteenth century for any man of color to become a renowned author, lecturer, or medical practitioner, but William Wells Brown broke the stocks of the societal norms in antebellum America to make his name part of its literary history. Born in Kentucky, he would adopt his name as homage to a Quaker who helped him reach his eventual freedom in Ohio. Brown became an active voice against slavery and a proponent for its abolition in the United States, writing on the same subjects he was most vocal about. Publishing multiple works, Clotel; or The President’s Daughter (1853) would become the novel that solidified his literary career. Originally published in London, …show more content…
While the male counterpart is more vocal and partakes in more dialog, it is the actions (or inaction) of the female characters that progresses the story. However, there is one crucial exception to this pattern. The interaction we see that takes place in chapter eight, where Clotel experiences the heartbreak of her illegitimate husband, Horatio Green, is pivotal to the story for two reasons: it provides us with the foundational plot for the remainder of the novel, and gives us insight into the mentality Clotel has that drives her actions, and thus, the story. In this chapter, Green decides to marry another (and white) woman for political gain. This leads to Clotel begrudgingly parting ways with him. This interaction, while not as outright as other instances of separation, is symbolic in the fact that because of Clotel’s race, she is left abandoned and essentially used, her and her daughter cast aside for Green’s personal gain. Regardless of how painful of a separation this was, Clotel selflessly took it upon herself to initiate this separation, as the chapter is aptly named, primarily because she knew that “. . . she was a slave; her sinews had been purchased by gold, yet she had the heart of a true woman, and hers was a passion too deep and absorbing to admit partnership, and her spirit was too pure to form a selfish league with crime (Brown 43).” For the sake of herself and her daughter, Mary, Clotel chose to part from Green, which would not work to her favor. His new wife would become aware of their existence and have Clotel sent south, tearing her from her family yet again, keeping Mary as her personal servant to spite Clotel and Green. In this south, Brown writes multiple interactions of male slaves who bend to the will and whim of their masters without much contest, with some slaves even taking the

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