Presentation on theme: "This week Review American Renaissance Uncle Tom’s Cabin Slave Narratives Domestic novels."— Presentation transcript:
This week Review American Renaissance Uncle Tom’s Cabin Slave Narratives Domestic novels
IV. Lit. of American Renaissance (1837 – 1865) Why name? Why dates? What literary works?
5 years – 5 classics The Scarlet Letter (1850) Moby Dick (1851) Walden (1853) Leaves of Grass (1855) –by Walt Whitman #5 ?
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Sold 300,000 copies in 1st year Translated into 22 languages Finally sold over 3 million
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Christian values vs.slavery Corrupting influence of slavery Moral power of women
Uncle Tom’s Cabin At this table was seated Uncle Tom, Mr. Shelby's best hand, who, as he is to be the hero of our story, we must daguerreotype for our readers. He was a large, broad-chested, powerfully-made man, of a full glossy black, and a face whose truly African features were characterized by an expression of grave and steady good sense, united with much kindliness and benevolence. There was something about his whole air self-respecting and dignified, yet united with a confiding and humble simplicity.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin He was very busily intent at this moment on a slate lying before him, on which he was carefully and slowly endeavoring to accomplish a copy of some letters, in which operation he was overlooked by young Mas'r George, a smart, bright boy of thirteen, who appeared fully to realize the dignity of his position as instructor.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Paternalistic racism? White child / black man Infantilizing black Made safe and sterile
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Christianity humanizes black slave (but also docile, passive, submissive) Successful in 19th C Negative in 20th C (today considered an insult)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin By this time, Master George had arrived at that pass to which even a boy can come (under uncommon circumstances, when he really could not eat another morsel), and, therefore, he was at leisure to notice the pile of woolly heads and glistening eyes which were regarding their operations hungrily from the opposite corner. "Here, you Mose, Pete," he said, breaking off liberal bits, and throwing it at them; "you want some, don't you? Come, Aunt Chloe, bake them some cakes."
Aunt Jemima Stereotyped image of black woman Food Motherly Servant Happy
Aunt Jemima changes
Negative image still used today
Slave Narratives Most popular in 1840s & 50s Books sponsored by abolitionists sometimes ghost written, usually edited Used as propaganda
Slave narratives – development of a genre Male author ”I was born…” Learns to read & write Realization of status as slave Depiction of wicked slaveholders Slave usually Christian Story stops when reaches North
Slave narrative problems Establish credibility with white audience How to tell own story if the purpose is to appear as a ”type” (black slave) Need to follow formula –Often the stories follow same pattern. –Formula similar to Franklin’s ”self-made man”
Frederick Douglass Most famous slave author Father was master? Escaped & joined aboltionist movement Remained active during & after war
His mistress My mistress was, as I have said, a kind and tender-hearted woman; and in the simplicity of her soul she commenced, when I first went to live with her, to treat me as she supposed one human being ought to treat another. In entering upon the duties of a slaveholder, she did not seem to perceive that I sustained to her the relation of a mere chattel, and that for her to treat me as a human being was not only wrong, but dangerously so. Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me.
When I went there, she was a pious, warm, and tender-hearted woman. There was no sorrow or suffering for which she had not a tear. She had bread for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within her reach. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamblike disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness.
Douglass In moments of agony, I envied my fellow- slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of thinking!
Learning to write The idea as to how I might learn to write was suggested to me by being in Durgin and Bailey's ship-yard, and frequently seeing the ship carpenters, after hewing, and getting a piece of timber ready for use, write on the timber the name of that part of the ship for which it was intended.
I soon learned the names of these letters, and for what they were intended when placed upon a piece of timber in the ship- yard. I immediately commenced copying them, and in a short time was able to make the four letters named. After that, when I met with any boy who I knew could write, I would tell him I could write as well as he. [...]I would then make the letters which I had been so fortunate as to learn, and ask him to beat that. In this way I got a good many lessons in writing, which it is quite possible I should never have gotten in any other way.
Narrative…. The holidays are part and parcel of the gross fraud, wrong, and inhumanity of slavery. They are professedly a custom established by the benevolence of the slaveholders; but I undertake to say, it is the result of selfishness, and one of the grossest frauds committed upon the down- trodden...
Battle with Covey Sent to „nigger breaker” Beaten Runs away Goes back Challenged by Covey and resists Battle is a draw
Battle with Covey This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free.
It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom. My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me.
Most popular books of era?
Domestic novels "America is now given over to a damned mob of scribbling women." Nathaniel Hawthorne The Wide, Wide World, Susan Warner The Lamplighter, Maria Cummins Beulah, Augusta Evans The Hidden Hand, E.D.E.N. Southworth
Domestic novels Story of young girl’s initiation to life Usually an orphan Men play minor role Learn virtues of domestic life Marry at end
Popularity? Development of large, middle class audience Growth of publishing sector & literacy Reveals desires of middle class women Submission to male world Develops ”own sphere”
Varying interpretations Negative Tells audiences what they already believe Reinforces acceptance of female inferiority Popular lit must be bad Positive Subversive in writing men out of story Shows girls becoming self-reliant before marriage Popular lit reveals culture’s beliefs about self (subconscious)
Next week: Poetry –Walt Whitman –Emily Dickinson Start reading Huckleberry Finn