Week 14
I have always enjoyed Dickinson's poetry. I have always found her short and sweet poems to speak directly to me in ways that many other poets have yet been able to.
Week 13
Harriet Jacobs
  • Harriet Jacobs was the first black woman to write a slave novel!
  • She was born into a slave family and had a basically normal childhood, until the age of six she didn't even realize she was a slave.
  • Eventually she came into bad masters, had children and decided to escape to the north where a wonderful lady bought her freedom and she got to live freely in the north and write her novel.
I find Harriet Jacobs to be an absolutely empowering woman! Although she was scared, as she should be she would stand up to her master and tell him off, to a point. If I were in her shoes I would be full of "Yes Ma'am" and "Yes sir". I also find her to be a very respectable woman. After she became pregnant and had to confess to her grandmother she felt a lot of shame but I believe in comparison she was much better off than many other women in similar situations at the time. She was a strong willed woman who was going to get herself and her children freed one way or another! That sort of commitment and dedication goes a long way in life.
Thomas Jefferson
I'm not sure if I read Jefferson in a bad mood or what but I did not like what I read whatsoever. The fact that he wanted to relocate the free slaves for any reason is beyond repulsive. They are now FREE! That means Jefferson nor anyone else could tell them where they could and couldn't live. I felt that overall the piece was far too judgmental and it made me sick reading it he was making conclusions about black people. About the ENTIRE population of black Americans.
Jefferson and slavery
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David Walker
I felt David Walker was a strongly written man. He must have been especially gutsy to "go after" such a largely popular man as Jefferson, although Jefferson had passed prior to the publishing of his article. Walker did a great job of defending his colored brethren as he called them throughout his essay. The most powerful part of the essay I felt was the introduction, (of the portion in NAAL) he wrote, "My beloved brethren:--The Indians of North and of South America--the Greeks--the Irish, subjected under the king of Great Britain--the Jews, that ancient people of the Lord--the inhabitants of the islands of the sea--in fine, all the inhabitants of the earth, (except however, the sons of Africa) are called men, and of course are, and ought to be free." I found this passage so powerful! That is basically what the Declaration of Independence says, All men are created equal, however the blacks are still enslaved and have absolutely no freedom or rights at all. external image walkertp.jpg
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Harper is one of my all time favorite poets. I find her poems to be so intriguing! She does such a fantastic job at capturing the feeling that a slave woman may have felt in different situations.
She lived a free life in the north, not that her life was easy by any means. Harper like Jacobs wanted to captivate their women readers. They wanted them to see that women black and white need to unite because life as a woman is hard enough without having to deal with the race issues.
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Week 9
William Apess

  • Wrote first Native American Autobiography to be published called A Son of the Forest in 1829
  • His paternal grandfather (a white man) married the grand daughter of King Philip (the Wampanoag leader)
  • His father (mixed blood) joined the Pequot tribe and married an indian woman who could have been partially African American.
  • At age of 3 he moved to his maternal grandparents and was then sold into indentured labor.
  • He was allowed to attend school by his first master and went for six years (totaled his formal education)
  • Served as a soldier in the American attack on Montreal in the War of 1812.
  • When through serving converted to evangelical Methodism.
  • Helped get Mashpee (the last Indian town in Massachusetts) the same rights as the other towns in Massachusetts
Once learning the Christian way Apess decided that the way the white men treated the natives was very unchristian and un-human in general. I thought it was very bold for Apess to speak out in his writing the way he did. He was very well written and educated for a native at that time and was hopefully a great role model and guide for other natives to do the same. Although many natives would see him as a traitor possibly learning the white mans language and religion. Even though he did do both of these things he was still fighting for the liberation of his people! ShowImageDB.php.jpeg
Black Hawk

Prompt: The struggle to achieve independence from others frequently appears in literature from the American Revolution. Select a piece of literature from the period and examine the ways language is used to motivate the reader to join the struggle.

Text: Thomas Paine's "Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs" on pages 326-332 in The Norton Anothology of American Literature.

My (Emily Downs) annotations will be in this font and color!


In Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs from his pamphlet titled Common Sense, Thomas Paine attempts to inform the American public on the absurdity of reconciliation with Great Britain. This is an extremely clear thesis statement! He uses very persuasive and convincing language to sway his readers to his side of America’s wide spread dichotomy. Good set up for the next sentence, but maybe explain why the language is persuasive and convincing? He states “But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families” (pp 328). Paine wants his readers to understand that although, for some, Great Britain may be the “motherland” she turned her back on them, taxed them, and took away liberties and freedoms which they had come to gain. Therefore she is not worth their loyalty and praise. Paine uses the imagery of brutes and the savages to portray Britain as such. Good use of connection between the English and savages because of the negative ideas the colonists had towards the Natives.
Throughout his essay Thomas Paine suggests the reader to think of the colonies of a nation. To think of themselves as Americans. I like how you place the two sentences separately to show significance. He also urges them to remember that although many of them have immigrated from Britain many more were from other European countries. He wants them to remember then that Britain is not the motherland but Europe is. I'm not sure this sentence flows as well as it could, maybe replace the first half with the second? “Europe, and not england is the parent country of America” (pp 328). He concludes “Not one third of the inhabitants, even of this province (Pennsylvania), are of English Descent. Wherefore, I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied to England only, as being false, selfish, narrow and under generous” (pp 329). Paine is trying to get the idea that England deserves their loyalty due to the “fact” they are the mother country, because the fact is that it actually isn’t. Great observation! I hadn't looked at it that way before, so it's really interesting that you brought up that point.
Once it has been established that Great Britain is indeed not the mother country of the people of America Paine can go on into detail of why America needs to separate from Great Britain. It's interesting that you don't choose three different things to focus on and instead choose to focus on three parts of one argument - it makes the essay seem much less like a bunch of random ideas and more like one, flowing thought. Paine insists that as long as America is under British rule the Brit’s enemies will be America’s. He says, “Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin, because of her connection with Britain” (pp 329). He plays on his readers feelings to persuade them to follow his lead in believing that the colonies should separate from Great Britain. Plays on their feelings and their fear of a sour economy!
Thomas Paine is very persuasive in his essay Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs. He uses imagery to convince the citizens that England is like a brute or savage and uses the readers feelings to further convince them that he is fighting the right fight. Great ending - it explains what you've just talked about without over summarizing.