Frederick Douglass vs. Harriet Jacobs
The main difference that was apparent to me from these two books was their style. I think Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs were trying to reach different audiences with their autobiographies and had to write accordingly. Frederick Douglass seemed to simply tell his story. He told only of what it was like to be a plantation slave, particularly a male, and all the hardships he went through personally. Douglass went into detail about the graphical beatings he witnessed and undertook which affectively reaches the reader through shame and disbelief. These discriptions sort of scare the reader and make us nervous for Douglass. However, through all the detail, Douglass stops short of telling the affect his experiences have on him. He ‘tells it like it is’ and puts little emotion in his writing. Harriet Jacobs uses an almost complete opposite approach to her autobiography. She attempts to make this story impersonal by using a different name, other than her own, to be the main character. She is also slightly on the secretive side when it comes to telling what events actually took place in slavery. Jacobs usually gives brief summaries of what happens to her, but the main focus is the impact the events have on her personally. Unlike Douglass, Jacobs focuses on the lives of women in slavery. Where Douglass discusses the phyisical limits pushed on male slaves, Jacobs tells of the emotional damage that happens to any slave girl as soon as she is about 14 years old. Both these autobiographies tell personal accounts of slavelife to strike a nerve in Americans to see the horrible nature of slavery. However, they are written completely differently to reach seperate audiences. Although both are very affective and successful, it is obvious that Douglass is a male writer, with the objective of reaching a male audience, and Jacobs is a female writer, reaching a female audience. People respond to different approaches in differnent ways. I...
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