Slave Narrative Literary Analysis Essay

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Prior to the publication of any slave narrative, African Americans had been represented by early historians’ interpretations of their race and culture. Commonly accepted gender roles are a product of the biological and social evolution of humankind and are polarized between masculine and feminine expressions. These roles have been universally adapted and historically assigned to individuals based on gender. The collective acceptance of individual gender roles has fashioned them into a lens through which all human experience is filtered down to the individual. The differences between males and females and their respective gender roles result in distinctly different perspectives between the two sexes, often of the same event. One instance …show more content…
While Douglass presented the sufferings of slaves in the fields, he attempted to describe the toils of women through his aunt’s afflictions but “failed...to accurately address and interpret” (Hunter-Willis 2) her experience as a slave. In this lack of representation of female slaves, Jacobs was bestowed with the opportunity to give voice to female slaves and to redefine their womanhood through her narrative. Jacobs’s “purpose and intended audience” (Wolfe 518) remained constant in arousing “the women of the North...of the condition of two millions of women at the South” (Jacobs 26). Douglass’s act of writing his narrative and founding and editing abolitionist newspapers discredited all former stereotypes held towards African American males. Like Douglass, Jacobs also exposed the harsh treatment towards slaves while proving that American “blacks could succeed at the same activities as whites” (Hunter-Willis 26) through her own narrated experiences. Jacobs’s and Douglass’s narratives embody the rivalry between the clashing motives that generated autobiographies of slave life. They ultimately compare when it came to the moral issues of slavery; both narratives proved that all slaves were subjected to “back-breaking toil, inadequate accommodations...and all kinds of...brutality” (Alonzo 120) but Jacobs insisted that while “slavery is terrible for men...it is far

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