I’ve again provided “enhancement” links in this week’s resources folder. I’d strongly suggest watching John Green’s introduction to the Atlantic Slave Trade. They include a biographical resource on Douglass’s life as well as a one-man show in which an actor appears on C-SPAN as Douglass. This latter is worth watching for at least a bit — one of the things we know about Douglass is that he was a brilliant orator. This actor’s performance might offer at least a glimmer of insight into what he might have been like when addressing an audience about his experiences.
Option 1: Applying the Marxist Lens. (400 words)
Obviously, as a slave narrative Douglass’s text explores the distinctions between slave owners and slaves. But that isn’t the only class dynamic explored in his book. Reflect on the power relationships between people of different classes work in the book. You can talk about the slave/master relationship, but also look at hierarchies within each group. Refer back to the “Typical Questions” introduced in the Purdue OWL introduction to Marxist Criticism to help you get started.
Option 2: Applying the Feminist Lens (200 words)
The introduction to the Narrative calls attention to the fact that the text focuses very much on the struggle between men — slaves and slave owners. Explore this idea in greater depth. Again, you can use the “Typical Questions” in the Purdue OWL article on Feminist Criticism to get you started.
Read Narrative of the Life of Frederic Douglas, an Amercain Slave (512-573)
Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism (Purdue OWL — linked to in Week 6 Resources)