The Development of the Self-Image in Black Autobiographical Writing (Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois and Malcolm X)

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 M07 28 - 128 páginas
Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2,7, University of Bamberg (Professur für Amerikanistik), 58 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In this thesis paper, each of the three black autobiographical writings will be discussed in chronological order. The paper begins with Frederick Douglass's Narrative from 1845, continues with W.E.B. Du Bois's Darkwater from 1920 and finishes with The Autobiography of Malcolm X from 1965. The purpose of this chronological organization is to better trace the development of black autobiographical writing over the period of 120 years. Each autobiography's discussion is divided up into three distinguishable components. A summary of each memoir provides a background against which the further stylistic and thematic discussions can be attempted. Secondly, the historical circumstances, basic structure and narrative techniques of the respective eras of black autobiographical writing and of the specific works will be discussed. The purpose is to closely look at typical features (or, in the case of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, genres) of black autobiographical writings in each period and then, in a second step, analyze each work's specific stylistic and narrative peculiarities. The third and last component of each autobiography's discussion is a close textual interpretation. It shall analyze the development of the self-image of each author as presented in his autobiographical work. These observations will be synthesized in the Conclusion of this thesis paper. The eventual aim of this study is to prove the three thesis elements. First of all, it shall be demonstrated that African-Americans have written autobiographies to comment on the unjust societies they have been living in since slavery. Secondly, it shall be proven that the three distinguishable stages of black autobiographical writing are best represented by this selection of books. And finally, one will see that th

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Introduction
3
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
10
Darkwater Voices from within the Veil
41
The Autobiography of Malcolm X 1965
72
Conclusion
110
Bibliography
119
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Página 51 - It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.
Página 27 - I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland. I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.
Página 29 - They told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.
Página 39 - I gave Mr. Johnson the privilege of choosing me a name, but told him he must not take from me the name of "Frederick." I must hold on to that, to preserve a sense of my identity. Mr. Johnson had just been reading the "Lady of the Lake," and at once suggested that my name be "Douglass.
Página 107 - During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)— while praying to the same God— with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the 'white' Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan, and...
Página 29 - I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle ; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear.
Página 38 - I deeply regret the necessity that impels me to suppress any thing of importance connected with my experience in slavery. It would afford me great pleasure indeed, as well as materially add to the interest of my narrative, were I at liberty to gratify a curiosity, which I know exists in the minds of many, by an accurate statement of all the facts pertaining to my most fortunate escape.
Página 25 - I scarce had strength to speak. He then gave me a savage kick in the side, and told me to get up. I tried to do so, but fell back in the attempt. He gave me another kick, and again told me to rise. I again tried, and succeeded in gaining my feet; but, stooping to get the tub with which I was feeding the fan, I again staggered and fell.
Página 32 - These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought.
Página 35 - 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.

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