Journal Entry #4
Week 12
Reading: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Young Goodman Brown (NAAL pages 605-614)
The Minister’s Black Veil (NAAL pages 622-631)
The story of Young Goodman Brown was spooky and fun right from the beginning. The dark words, phrases, and scenes that Hawthorne uses are so successful in conveying the mood of the story. Beginning with Faith’s pink ribbons blowing in the wind, which reminded me of a shot in a movie or a photo in which everything is black and white except for one or two objects of color, the stage is set for a ghost story. He continues with phrases such as ‘dreary road,‘gloomiest trees,’ and ‘lonely footsteps,’ to provide a suspenseful opening scene in the forest.
I began to get a bit confused with the story when the woman called Cloyse appeared and disappeared, but then realized that this must be the power of the old man (devil? Ghost?) who has been leading Goodman Brown along. He continues to show his powers through transforming and disappearing things until Brown begins to get agitated and confused. He finally refuses to go no further, however he is already under the power of the ‘traveler.’ When the invisible horsemen and voices from the clouds came along, it seemed to me that there was a bit of a switch in perspective, and that the reader is no longer walking along with goodman Brown on his journey, but rather looking in or down at him, watching what happens to goodman Brown.
Finally, I had been thinking from about half way through the story that it all may have been a dream, and that Goodman Brown had stumbled, fallen and passed out in the woods (or maybe never entered the woods at all) and dreamed about all of the voices, cries, figures, and the meeting. Then, at the end of the tale, on page 614, Hawthorne presents this possibility himself. I like the fact that a lot of the interpretation of what happened is left up to the reader. It is a sad and powerful story, and we know that there must be some force at work, because goodman Brown takes a turn for the worse after his midnight walk and is never the same again. Is the devil really at work here, tricking and seducing him, or might he simply be going insane? Overall, I enjoyed this read, as it contained so many crafty phrases and also helped me to further understand the types of tales that Gothic Fiction includes.
My favorite lines from this story include:
*’So they parted; and the young man pursued his way, until, being about to turn the corner by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him, with a melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons.’ (NAAL page 606)
<I found this phrase both very amusing and spooky—‘the head of Faith still peeping after him’ gave the mental picture to me of just a head, and no body…I thought that this was a canny way of describing Brown’s wife watching him go>
*And maddened with despair, so that the laughed loud and long, did goodman Brown grasp his staff and set forth again, at such a rate, that he seemed to fly along the forest-path, rather than to walk or run. The road grew wilder and drearier, and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness, still rushing onward, with the instinct that guides mortal man to evil.’ (NAAL page 611)
<First, I also found the beginning of this line amusing and got a really funny mental picture of this crazy man flying like mad through the woods going insane—surrounded by eerie sounds, voices, and wind. In a movie he may have had a trail of smoke or dust behind him to show how fast he moved. The second part of this quote I liked because to me it was a kind reassurance to the reader about what is going on, a mid-story reminder that the main character is being guided to evil by the old man traveler and his messengers, including the first man and the woman Cloyse>
*’On the Sabbath-day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen, because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear, and drowned all the blessed strain. When the minister spoke from the pulpit, with power and fervid eloquence, and, with his hand on the open bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths, and of future bliss or or misery unutterable, then did goodman Brown turn pale, dreading, lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray’ (NAAL page 614)
<I think the words and phrases used here to show the opposing powers of good (the congregation and minister, back to normal in the midst of its Sunday service) and evil (the damage done to the mind of goodman Brown from his midnight journey) are really powerful and well selected. There is a certain grace in Hawthorne’s writing that gives the story an air of beauty despite the subject matter. The phrase ‘anthem of sin,’ ‘blessed strain,’ and ‘fervid eloquence,’ all add to this effect. This was such interesting and word choice!>
A couple of questions:
~I wonder, have these stories ever been made into movies or short film? I think they would make good movies. The mood and theme kind of reminds me of the Legend of Sleep Hollow by Washington Irving.
~Also, I wonder if a majority of the inspiration for these types of stories by authors from New England came from the Witch Trials and all of the dark and evil thoughts and plots surrounding this time in Salem? While Gothic Fiction had roots in both Romanticism and Transcendentalism, these events also must have held a part in why authors such as Hawthorne wrote about evil and its characters and powers.
I will also comment briefly on the other selected reading by Hawthorne, The Minister’s Black Veil. This story had the same type of opening, in that the ghostly, haunting air began right away. The townspeople notice Mr. Hooper’s veil only two paragraphs into the story, setting the scene of gloominess for the reader right away. (Although, I may be tardy in identifying such a trend, as this was probably expected by Hawthorne’s readers because many of his writings were of this genre…still I thought it was interesting to note.)
In comparison to Young Goodman Brown, I thought that this story was similar in that it held a lot of mysterious and suspenseful moments, but different because The Minister’s Black Veil was a much more somber, mellow, and slow story without the amount of action and sudden, frightful happenings as Goodman Young Goodman Brown. As in the other story, I enjoyed the fact that there is some interpretation left up to the reader when assessing why Hooper wore the veil and what the meaning was behind it. Although he did mention that It was ‘type,’ or religious symbol, and that he did not differ in intention from any other man with secrets, the reasons behind the lesson he was attempting to teach and/or the personal reasons he wore it could have been many.
I really loved the ending to this story. It only made sense that Hooper should fight to keep the veil covering his face during his last hours, and even more that after his last words, showing the people part of what he meant to teach them, that the people should respect his memory by burying him with the veil still on. So intriguing and mysterious is this story, that, just like Young Goodman Brown, I think it would make an excellent play or short film. I would be very interested to read interpretations of Hawthorne’s stories by others.
Web Links
nathanielhawthorne.jpg
Statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Salem Massachusetts
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Nathaniel_Hawthorne_statue_-_Salem,_Massachusetts.JPG
goodmanbrownwoods.jpg
Picture of the Forest from a reading of Young Goodman Brow by Basil Rathborne
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/58208443-hawthorne-young-goodman-brown
ministersblackveil.jpg
One Adaption of The Minister’s Black Veil by J.E. Larson
http://www.redbubble.com/people/jelarson/art/4497526-2-the-ministers-black-veil
Nathaniel Hawthorne Further Information:
Wiki Information on Nathaniel Hawthorne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathaniel_Hawthorne
37 Nathaniel Hawthorne Quotes
(kind of cool to have some good/well known ones collected without having to search through long writings). These also serve to show his own character and views well as opposed to just venturing through a few of his works of fiction.
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/nathaniel_hawthorne.html
YouTube: A Silent Film Video Adaption of Young Goodman Brown done by students. This is actually really well done for a high school level! The music is great. Cute Movie!









Journal Entry #3
Week 11

Reading: Sarah Willis Parton (NAAL pages 799-803)
Male Criticism on Ladies’ Books

The most notable aspect of Sarah Willis Parton’s Male Criticism on Ladies’ Books is in her style of writing; in the fact that presents this situation and these thoughts for pondering through the use of blunt words and sarcasm; likely ‘speaking’ to the male population with words many women probably thought but never said. I actually found it quite amusing, as she not only addressed the wrong in the statement of the man who she quoted; she went as far as to cleverly insult him as well. The strong words she used such as In addition, she must have set an example for many other aspiring women writers and novelists. I read the first expect and thought to myself that her words would probably translate today into something like: “Ok, dude, whatever you say (sarcastically), but you couldn’t do it any better than we do, and you are no gift of God yourself.” She is very headstrong in what she writes, not at all apprehensive, intimidated, hurt, or polite in her response. This in itself is such a notable characteristic for a writer in her day.

My favorite quotes from this excerpt included:

*”When I see such a narrow, snarling criticism as the above, I always say to myself, the writer is some unhappy man, who has come up without the refining influence of mother, or sister, or reputable female friends; who has divided his migratory life between boarding-houses, restaurants, and the outskirts of editorial sanctums; and who knows as much about reviewing a woman’s book, as I do about navigating a or engineering an omnibus from the South Ferry, through Broadway, to Union Park.” (NAAL, pages 801-802)
(You go, Girl!) J

*”Granting that lady-novels are not all that they should be –is such shallow, unfair, wholesale, sneering criticism (?) the way to reform them? Would it not be better and more manly to point out a better way kindly, justly, and above all, respectfully? or –what would be a much harder task for such critics –write a better book!” (NAAL, page 802)

I thought it was very interesting that the NAAL textbook included the piece containing criticism of Parton’s works. I believe this is the first reading we’ve been assigned which includes this type of section. This is very informative, because it allows the reader to see the author’s writing through the eyes of the public during the time it was written and then have the ability to compare with one’s owns thoughts and feelings aroused by the work. Some of the comments made by the writer made me so angry; I couldn’t imagine having read them as Sarah Parton about my own work. The blatant ignorance towards the rights and intelligence of women are revealed in these appalling quotes from the criticism: (it is sad but true that these were remarks commonly made of women’s writing at the time)

*”When we take up a woman’s book we expect to find gentleness, timidity, and that lovely reliance on the patronage of our sex which constitutes a woman’s greatest charm. We do not wish to be startled by bold expressions, or disgusted with exhibitions of masculine weaknesses. We do not desire to see a woman wielding the scimetar blade of sarcasm. If she be, unfortunately, endowed with a gift so dangerous, let her –as she values the approbation of our sex –fold it in a napkin.” (NAAL, page 802)
(Oh, if only this guy could have seen what was coming up in women’s writing in the next centuries!)

*”Woman never was intended for an irritant; she should be oil upon the troubled waters of manhood –soft and amalgamating, a necessary but unobtrusive ingredient; -never challenging attention –never throwing the gauntlet of defiance to a beard, but softly purring beside it lest it bristle and scratch.”
(This is very non-professional, but I’m going to say to this: “Eeew!” If only I had the opportunity to slap this guy in the mouth!) J J

Beyond being shocked at the criticism that Parton had to endure, the strongest personal reaction that I had to this reading was definitely that of inspiration. In the day in and day out motion of activities, it is easy to forget about respecting ourselves as women living in and contributing to society. The reading helped to remind me of how important it is to allow myself to feel empowered by the fact that women today have so many advantages and options that previously did not exist in this nation. Also, to remember that standing strong, tall, and confident as a woman, and expecting respect from all others, including all men, is something that we should not be ashamed of, but in fact are deserving of. As is the same with the writings of some of my other favorite woman writers from this semester’s readings, such as Rowlandson and Bradstreet, it is always amazing to come across women writers from this time who went against everything their societies expected of women to make their literary marks with such unique and poignant style.

Web Links:

http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/17841865/lit/fern.htm
Website with great biographical facts and timeline about the life of Fanny Fern

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Payson_Willis_Parton
Wikipedia Information about Fanny Fern

http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/sentimnt/fernhp.html
Website with biographical information and excerpts from Sarah Parton’s work: Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Port-Folio (1853)


ruth_hall.jpg
One cover of Ruth Hall, one of Sarah Willis Parton’s well known novels
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515Q8JHQTVL.jpg

sarahparton1.jpg

Photograph of a younger Sarah Payson Willis
http://www.nndb.com/people/587/000115242/sara-willis-parton-1-sized.jpg


sarahparton2.jpg
Portrait of an older Sarah Willis Parton (or Fanny Fern)
http://www.awomanaweek.com/images/sparton.jpg

Overall, I enjoyed this reading a lot, as I have the other women writers we have had the opportunity to read this semester. I found it both funny and inspiring. While I had a bit of trouble figuring out all of the ties to the transcendental movement (self-reliance? Independence?), I know that she has many other writings in addition to what appears in the textbook. So I was glad to have the opportunity to be educated on another great writer in this literary time period that I probably would not have known about if it weren’t for this course. This is one of the writers I would read more of if I only had the time!! Who knows? Maybe the classic win-the-lottery-and-have-time-for-all-those-things-I-want-to-do-like-read-more scenario will happen to me…someday?

J

Journal Entry #2
Week 10

Reading: William Cullen Bryant (NAAL Pages 475-479)

I really enjoyed Bryant’s poem ‘Thanatopsis.’ I’m going into this set of readings kind of thinking: ‘Okay, here’s the good stuff I’ve been waiting for!’ (The ‘meat’ of the matter, if you will, as I am enthralled by nature related musings, analysis, or reflections of any sort.) Not to say that we didn’t get them with Bradstreet, but I think this set of poets, as we enter Romanticism go a bit more deep into the teachings of nature. Having read Poe and Thoreau, my theory that no matter how many new angles, reflections, or descriptions I think I’ve read, heard, or considered coming from writing about the natural world, there are always more; and they will continue to be fresh, new, and inspiring as time goes on. Especially in the case of this poem, the ability of Bryant to show the connections between the beauty we behold each day around us and mortal life’s end, and to describe nature as ‘the great tomb of man,’ is fascinating.

The Literary Devices that I noticed used in Bryant’s poem were assonance, alliteration, simile (‘When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit’), personification (‘The venerable woods – rivers that move In majesty; and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green’), emphasis, enjambment (used a lot, in almost every stanza), and a very solemn and direct mood.
In Lines 22-27, beginning with ‘Thy Image, Earth’ Bryant seems to be emphasizing life cycle, even though that is really one of the parts of the overall message. And then, in lines 59-66, beginning with ‘Unnoticed by the living-‘ he instructs the reader that we are all one and will all go at one point or another to join the others, therefore we are constantly completing the infinity surrounding us, now, and after death. My very favorite lines (mostly because of their flow) from this poem include:

~Lines 14-17Go forth under the open sky, and list, To Nature’s teachings, while from all around – Earth and her waters, and the depths of air, - Comes a still voice-“ Here, he talks about what to do when thoughts of death are causing fear, and that the still voice of Mother Earth will reassure the message- we are one with the earth, and someday will be gone from this life, and part of the earth. I have taken walks myself and heard this voice and felt this connection. It is very tangible if one allows the comfort of nature’s beauty to wash over. Anyone can hear this voice, whether or not he or she fears death.

Lines 58-66 ‘So shalt thou rest –and what if thou shalt fall Unnoticed by the living –and no friend Take note of thy departure?' All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come, And make their bed with thee.’ Death happens to everyone. Everyone will die. We are not invincible, we are not the only ones, everyone that has left here is there together, we will be there with them soon, and all that stay here will eventually join us.

~Lines 80-83: ‘By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.’ He seems to say- do not fear death! Comfort will be found in this state- in the return of the body to its natural dwelling place. What an interesting description! It did strike me as a little unlike the rest of the poem, as there weren’t many references to pleasures of the present life other than in nature, but likening the pleasantry of death, as he states there is, to napping on the couch?...sure- why not? J

Honestly, I think that this poem is so packed with ‘analyzable’ stuff, I’m a bit apprehensive to go into everything I’m ‘seeing’ from a personal standpoint. This is because I think I tend to overanalyze and get it wrong, but any who take the time to read through this one more than once, certainly must notice something new each time, as I have!
<One can obtain others’ analysis of poems out online…I had never tried this before, but did it for this one and found a couple of different interesting takes on it. Of course, they are all informal discussion board sites, so you never know what will come up, but it’s neat to read poetry and see if opinions match.>

It’s interesting to note that most of the writers we’ve read this semester were active on several levels of service and seemed to me overachievers; at least they may be viewed that way from a standpoint of the scope of the activities of many of society’s members today. This thought occurred to me yet again when reading the biographical information on Bryant in the text book. Not only was he a somewhat accomplished and, at points, well known poet; he was also a newspaper editor, lawyer, wrote essays, led Republican and anti-slavery movements as well as a campaign for the creation of Central Park, and spoke publicly on many occasions. It caused me to wonder if most every poet or writer who became famous led a multi-faceted extra curricular lifestyle, or were any just writers? J

I enjoyed this poem a lot and have also been enjoying the other readings from Romanticism so far. This is definitely my favorite section of readings so far, not as dry as a few of the others. Can’t wait to read other’s viewpoints on these works! J

Web Links:

WilliamCullenBryant.jpg
Sketch of William Cullen Bryant
http://www.darvillsrareprints.com/images/Picturesque%20America/William%20Cullen%20Bryant2.jpg

BryantHomestead.jpg
The William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA
http://www.cummington-ma.gov/BryantHomestead.php
http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/pioneer-valley/bryant-homestead.html
Two great tourist Sites about the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Massachusetts
(It looks gorgeous there!)

BryantStatue.jpg

Statue of William Cullen Bryant in **Bryant Park**adjacent to the **New York Public Library**
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cullen_Bryant
The Wikipedia Info on this poet: even though it’s just Wikipedia, there are some cool photos and pieces of info.

‘Daily Lifts’
http://christianscience.com/lectures/2010/06/10/nature-teaches-gods-love/
http://christianscience.com/lectures/2010/10/25/gods-bouquet/
Here are a couple of audio clips from the website of the First Church of Christ Scientist. It’s just a couple of people giving brief thoughts about Nature and God’s Love. They are kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum from Bryant’s poem in that they don’t talk about death, but on the other hand, they do talk about Nature and Love. They aren’t anything all too religious sounding just nice thoughts for the day that I was somehow reminded of when reading Bryant’s poetry.

Thanks~
Abby

Journal Entry #1
Week 9

Reading: William Apess (NAAL Pages 482-488)
An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man
To start, I have to say that this was a very moving essay. It was so intelligently written, that I found myself re reading certain sentences that I thought were amazing. Here is a quote that sums up the description of this writing well, from the opening section with information on William Apess preceding his essay in the NAAL textbook:

“a searing indictment of race prejudice against people of color generally and Native Americans particularly. The forceful opening of [the essay] is marked by the rhetorical style of the practiced preacher.” (NAAL p. 483)

I think the most important factor that makes this piece, An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man so effective is the way in which Apess writes very directly to the reader, as though he is holding a conversation. Therefore, the subject of prejudice is discussed as opposed to simply approached. Apess speaks to the reader as if he could be in front of one or a small group of people, and uses examples of prejudice, references to the Bible, and several thought provoking questions to get his point across. To me, there is something about the many questions he asks that really ‘make’ this piece. He also employs the use of imaginary scenarios to show the truth in his remarks such as this one:

“Now let me ask you, white man, if it is a disgrace for to eat, drink, and sleep with the image of God, or sit, or walk and talk with them. Or have you the folly to think that the white man, being one in fifteen or sixteen, are the only beloved images of God? Assemble all nations together in your imagination, and then let the whites be seated among them, and then let us look for the whites, and I doubt not it would be hard finding them; for to the rest of nations they are still but a handful.” (NAAL p. 485)

Apess writes in a very forceful and convincing manner, as though he ought to be listened to and taken seriously. For someone of that time to cover this subject so well, to state his case with such touching, personal, and meaningful purpose is really incredible, and I still think it sad that it probably didn’t have very much of an impact or effect on possible healing and solution at all, at that time. It is somewhat comforting to know that at least his works were published, so that many have had the opportunity to read this essay over the years~~

A Son of the Forest and Other Writings
By William Apess, a Pequot
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51S4015PVYL._SL500_OU01_SS90_.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A1YSZCT9X4UKC2&usg=__WXJ6Iivy9_ig30MJQGKdxNEl9RQ=&h=90&w=90&sz=3&hl=en&start=12&zoom=1&itbs=1&tbnid=DLt3mVsGGZ84uM:&tbnh=78&tbnw=78&prev=/images%3Fq%3DWILLIAM%2BAPESS%26hl%3Den%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1


On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William
Apess, a Pequot (Native Americans of the Northeast)
http://www.amazon.com/Our-Own-Ground-Americans-Northeast/dp/0870237705/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1#_

Because I really enjoyed the question format in his essay, I’ve included some of those questions here.
Powerful Questions posed by Apess in An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man:

~ “Now I ask if degradation has not been heaped long enough upon the Indians? And if so, can there not be a compromise? Is it right to hold and promote prejudices? (p.484)
~ “And let me ask: Is it not on the account of a bad principle that we who are red children have hat to suffer so much as we have? And let me ask: Did not this bad principle proceed from the whites or their forefathers? And I would ask: Is it worthwhile to nourish it any longer?” (p.484)
~ “Did you ever hear or read of Christ teaching his disciples that they ought to despise one because his skin was different from theirs?” (p.486)
~ “By what you read, you may learn how deep your principles are. I should say they were skin-deep. I should not wonder if some of the most selfish and ignorant would spout a charge of their principles now and then at me. But I would ask: How are you to love your neighbors as yourself? Is it to cheat them? Is it to wrong them in anything? Now, to cheat them out of any of their rights is robbery. And I ask: Can you deny that your are not robbing the Indians daily, and many others?” (p.488)

The number one reflective thought I had while reading this piece was sadness, knowing that this was probably one of the most, if not the most powerful essay on the subject of prejudice of its time, and even then, it did not make much of a bearing. Knowing now, that many other waves of prejudice have occurred in America against many peoples and groups, and that they continue to occur to this day shows how small of an impact such an intelligent writer had. It seems that Apess must have known what he was up against, but simply had to present these thoughts and truths out of frustration and anger of knowing that the injustices he was seeing committed each day towards his people and other people of color were so very wrong. It must have been extremely frustrating to be such a small voice of truth amongst an ocean of people who viewed the unfair treatment of Native Americans and colored people as natural and normal.
This essay also reminded me a lot of Martin Luther King Junior’s famous “I Have a Dream” Speech, in that they both illustrated the fact that equality is necessary in the eyes of God and of the Constitution. They both had the effect of getting people to realize that there is no real significant basis for the atrocious acts, viewpoints, and treatments against people of color. I think that it’s important to see the roots of more recent fights for equality in works like these that were written, in this case 130 years before King’s speech, because it really puts the spotlight on how timeless of an issue the fight for civil rights is, and has been, for so many people over the years.

Web Links
Sketch of William Apess
http://www.bostonkids.org/educators/wampanoag/images/ss-apess.gif

Information from the Teacher Resources at the Boston Children’s Museum on the Wampanoag communities and traditions: the Native American community to which Apess’ mother belonged. William Apess was of American-Aborigine ascendance, and belonged to the Pequot Tribe, in which his father was born.
http://www.bostonkids.org/educators/wampanoag/html/w-surviv.htm



Abby,

You are a terrific writer and I enjoy your postings. You are insightful and well spoken. I just had trouble with making the prompt you chose mesh with the essay. I really enjoyed your responses in my essay, too! It's always good to see what works and what doesn't. This is a great opportunity for feedback and growth for both of us. Thanks, your're a great partner!

Joy

Hi Again, Joy~

Just wanted to say thanks for your thoughtful responses to my essay in your annotation. While I unfortunately don't have time to make the revisions now, I have taken your points into consideration and am grateful for your idea to 'go deeper.' I will admit, I wrote this 'essay,' if you can call it that, in kind of a rushed manner, so I didn't take the time to wrap my head around the prompt before beginning my typing frenzy. Your feedback will help immensely with the writing of my mid-term essay!!

Thanks again!
Abby :)

Overall: I enjoyed the idea of the partner annotation as a whole because it gave me a chance to view my writing own writing style through someone else's eyes and to get an idea of where I stand with the construction of this type of essay. The assignment will cause me to look closer at my prompts and responses in the future. -Abby


4:18 Sunday It wouldn't upload so I have pasted it here:

One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how an individual struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate in your essay how the author uses this power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work
THESIS: Because of his writing style, in which he uses relation of personal experience to demonstrate, in part, a message of anti slavery, Equiano’s narrative became one of the most popular and impactful pieces by a black writer before 1800. While often direct with the reader about his opinions of his powerful British enslavers, Equiano’s story reaches readers in a detailed and appealing style through the conveying first of experience, and interjected with his strong yet briefly noted emotions accompanying his experiences. Work on working your thesis around your response. How does the use of emotions and first person affect the struggle for power going on?

In this excerpt from his autobiographical work, Olaudah Equiano tells the story of his kidnapping as a young man, being sold to the British; and his life as a slave; being sold and traded on different occasions, mistreated, and disrespected. The overview of this excerpt from his work (NAAL pages 355-356) gives the best condensed account of the story and of its author’s life.
In Chapter 3, of 6 in the selection, Equiano discusses a portion of his time in England, under his master, Michael Pascal, who was a lieutenant in the royal navy and had been Olaudah’s master for about two and a half years. He writes about the kind and gentle way of this particular master, about his desire to learn how to read and write English, and about his eventual trade to the captain of a ship heading for the West Indies. Throughout this chapter, as in the others, he provides a detailed account of his travels with a series of mini stories, or events, and the explanation here and there of his mental state as they occurred. Tell me a little bit about his emotion here. A teaser : )

The reasons causing the belief that his style is so effective in illustrating the injustice to the slaves; are the author’s incredible balance between factual storytelling and the emotion behind it, and the selection of events he has chosen to relate through this piece. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter J The interjection of clues as to how certain events made him feel, almost brings us right there into this raw world of hardship nice description! and so aids his narrative in reaching the heart of the reader he reached my heart. For every paragraph or two of wonderfully written storytelling its really is, Equiano gives mention of only why did you chose the word “only”? do you think it is sufficient due to his style? about two to five emotions stirred up in him upon being met with one event or another.
In the following example, he writes about his giving attitude towards his master was this his master or Daniel Queen?, to whom he sometimes felt like a son, when it came to the small amount of money or possessions he had the opportunity to own: “Many things I have denied myself that he may have them; … I used to buy him a little sugar or tobacco, as far as my stock of money would go. He used to say, that he and I never should part; and that when our ship was paid off, as I was as free as himself, or any other man on board, he would instruct me in his business, by which I might gain a good livelihood. This gave me new life and spirits; and my heart burned within me, powerful while I thought the time long till I obtained my freedom.” (text, page 373). Unlike some essayists, he does not write a piece overloaded with persuasion or emotion, taking away from the cause for such tactics. Rather, he keeps the reader inside of his world while leaving a clear footprint to follow by explaining the events surrounding his feelings. He includes the emotions he felt within the telling of the story so we see and feel it, too. Check out after this quote - he does give us really good reasons why he believed he would be freed.
At the end of the chapter, Equiano gives an account of being traded yet again to a new master, the captain of one of the many ships on which he traveled. After telling about losing any hope of holding onto the extremely small fortune he had earned, he writes: “But alas! all my hopes were baffled, and the hour of my deliverance as was yet fart off. My master, having soon concluded his bargain with the captain, came out of the cabin, and he and his people got into the boat and put off. I followed them with aching eyes as long as I could and when they were out of sight I threw myself on the deck, with a heart ready to burst with sorrow and anguish.Wonderful quote to show his pain (text, page 374).
In this example, Equiano again relates his story humbly and matter-of-factly, while at the same time reaching the reader with one of the most moving and shameful events that happened to slaves on a regular basis, thus illustrating again the immense wrong committed against him and so many others. I am often amazed at the way some of these accounts are told first person but as you say “humbly and matter of factly” often giving much grace to others. I think that when he got to telling us about thinking he would be free but was not…he got more passionate about the unfairness of it.
He also seems to have selected accounts which are vague enough as to not overwhelm the reader, but still hold high importance on the scale of the challenges facing the people of his time. Interesting observation His roller coaster ride through this life, with a side serving of emotions including despair, joy, sorrow, pride, embarrassment, and eventually freedom (in the last chapter), show his commitment to giving a real life account of his hardships to an eager audience. I liked the way he explained that his suffering was great compared to a European but compared to other slaves he was “a particular favorite of heaven” (Equiano does briefly explain the reasoning and purpose behind this work: see page 357 of the NAAL textbook.)
Instead of simply giving a day by day account of one portion of his ordeal, or including only the cruelty shown to his people, the author tells stories that were so personal to him, they serve the reader by portraying the variety of unique and strong cases which faced the slaves and the necessary courage needed to survive them. Following is a list of the location of a few of these stories, and their accompanying emotions,found throughout the excerpt of Equiano’s work in the textbook. (pages 357-390):

*Kidnapping of Olaudah and his sister (most of text, page 359): “The next day proved a day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced; for my sister and I were then separated, while we lay clapsed in each other’s arms. It was in vain that we besought them not to part us; she was torn form me, and immediately carried away, while I was left in a state of distraction not to be described. I cried and grieved continually…” (p. 359) This tore my heart apart to read it and made me angry for him!

*While working on a plantation Virginia (bottom of text page 368, to top of text page 369): “I was one day sent for to his dwelling house to fan him, when I came into the room…I was very much affrighted at some things I saw… I had seen a black woman slave as I came through the house, and the poor creature was cruelly loaded with various kinds of iron machines; she had one particularly on her head which locked her mouth so fast that she could scarcely speak… I was much astonished and shocked at this contrivance, which I afterward learned was called the iron muzzle.” (pp. 368-369). Good quote – what a visual this was. I never heard of such a thing – so much for “natural rights”. http://www.holyangels.com/images/Slave%20with%20Iron%20Muzzle.gif


*Upon having months worth of hard traded goods stolen in Santa Cruz (mid text page 380, to mid text page 381): “When we came there, in some little convenient time, he and I went ashore to sell them; but we had scarcely landed, when we were met by two white men, who presently took our three bags from us. … Thus, in the very minute of gaining more by three times than I ever did by any venture in my life before, was I deprived of every farthing I was worth. An unsupportable misfortune!
… I now, in the agony of distress and indignation, wished that the ire of God in his forked lightning might transfix these cruel oppressors among the dead.” (pp. 380-381) Strong language, base, “raw”, justified feelings

In conclusion, it should be noted that there are different reasons, such as timing, context, and style, can you tell me a little more about these from your literary point of view? why these types of works, such as Equiano’s narrative, gain popularity. Going beyond popularity though, and reaching the status of glorified literary work, are pieces such as this one. Beyond the facts in the stories told, is the author’s style in writing them, and whether or not it reaches the core need of readers to be enthralled or by a work. Like the author says we remember those that are of striking events and “excite either admiration of pity”. Do you think he did that? Equiano’s style of descriptions dabbled I’m not sure with this word you mean “experimented” or “immersed”. with emotion claims this heighth. “No black voice before Frederick Douglass spoke so movingly to American readers about inhumanity, and no work before Douglass’s own Narrative had such and impact.” (text, page 355). While thousands of accounts of slavery have been written, not all have been so humble and skilled at stirring strong emotion by relating their own in a well balanced style such as that of Olaudah Equiano.

Abby, Good work at a look at the emotions. I’d encourage you to take a look at the prompt you chose and tell me more about the struggle for power. How do you see him freeing himself? Was it always literally or was it sometimes by the way he was sometimes humble and matter of fact or how he immersed himself in education and work? Go deeper J . I think there was a power struggle when he refused to let him name be changed again. Joy





2:20 PM Sunday
Abby, I have been swamped this week with way over 200 pages of reading and essay work. I wasn't home last night and I had church this AM but I've been plugging away at at least reading through chapter 3 of the piece you chose. I have a few pages left and then, I'll start on annotation. Joy

*Abby*

Hi Joy!
Sorry to overwhelm you with all of this reading. My essays always end up being a little longer than I intend. My suggestion for annotation if you don't have time to read it all, would be to just read over the description of this work (NAAL pages 355-366) and skim through the excerpt. (NAAL pages 367-390) To reiterate, my main goal was to stress how effective the author's writing style is at making the piece effective.
Thanks for your time!
Abby :)
Joy!
Please download the attachment at the bottom of the page to view my essay. I have taken this route for posting, as the Wiki Page continues to screw up my formatting when I try to cut and paste it. Please let me know asap through this page, the Student Lounge Discussion Board, or Private Mail whether or not you have trouble viewing this attachment. It is a Microsoft Office Word 2007 Document. Thank You!


Selected Prompt:
One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how an individual struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate in your essay how the author uses this power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work.


Selected Literary Work:
Narratve of the Life
by Olaudah Equiano
From:The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself
NAAL pages 355-390
focus on Chapter 3 of this work
(NAAL pages 370-374)**