American Literature

   Reading Journals for Douglass  

Pick the question that you feel that you can answer the most completely.
There is no one question that is "better" than the other one

  1. Explain how Douglass draws on the theories of the earlier writers like Crevecouer, Franklin, and Emerson in appealing to his reader's views on freedom and individual rights.   answer this journal 
  2. Explain, as best as you can, what you think the most disturbing elements, attitudes or actions associated with slavery were. Don't just identify them; be sure to explain WHY they are so disturbing to you. Also, try to deal with the other side as well: why would the slave-owners have done such disturbing things; what's their rationale?   answer this journal

  3. In his own way, Douglass is an example of the self-made American as much, if not more, than Franklin. So why are my students always surprised to find out about him? Why is Douglass’ story not better known, or taught more in schools? What is there about this story that would lead teachers or schools to avoid teaching it? Are these legitimate reasons, or just excuses? Explain your answer as best as you can.  answer this journal

  4. We are told quite clearly that writing and reading is considered dangerous for slaves to learn. But why? Explain why this is so dangerous, when it would seem to make the slaves more capable of doing more types of work. answer this journal

  5. Many students are disturbed by Douglass’ depiction of the use of religion to justify slavery. Explain HOW the slave owners and masters used religion. Remember, you are not justifying their actions or interpretations of religion, you are simply describing how THEY saw and interpreted religion.   answer this journal