Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

BBL 3210 American Literature: Beginning to 1900

BA English (exec) Trisem 9/2010

Question 1: Draw a comparison between The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass. (10 marks)

The difference between The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and The Narrative of

Frederick Douglass is depicted clearly when it comes to the matter of purpose of writing such an

autobiography and the targeted people that the text intended to reach for. Benjamin Franklin’s

text was merely for the purpose of explaining the people on how much he have done for the

betterment of the society and him and the method on achieving those betterment in life. As we

read through Benjamin Franklin’s text, he will focuses on of his neither 13 virtues while

Frederick Douglass didn’t have any specific principle nor virtues. Frederick portrayed the

sufferings and hardship that slaves encounters in their live. Revolutionary thought is what

Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass have in common.

The exception of them being the person who capable of doing some vital part in creating

the self-improvement is also what is common among them. Benjamin’s text isn’t depicting the

struggle that he faced as what Frederick encounters. Frederick’s text is the explanation of how

slavery is meant to be during those days and he clearly explains the life and death of a slave. We

also got to know how an ex-slave (Frederick) managed to escaped his situation and become

educated and a successful orator. He suggests that education is the key fact to his success.

Benjamin’s text in another hand focuses on how he managed to invent stuffs that beneficial to

the society and be successful person in his life with adhering to his 13 virtues. Benjamin’s text

can also become a self-guide book for the betterment of life of people.

While Frederick’s text only explains the struggle that he faced when being a slave, how

other slaves are treated and what should one do to escape such a situation. Frederick narrative is

Prepared by:
Sudheep Ramasamy ( B10127)
BBL 3210 American Literature: Beginning to 1900
BA English (exec) Trisem 9/2010

different than Benjamin’s in terms of the level of language fluency, interlanguage competent and

emotional strength as Frederick uses slave narration that is different than Benjamin.

Prepared by:
Sudheep Ramasamy ( B10127)
BBL 3210 American Literature: Beginning to 1900
BA English (exec) Trisem 9/2010

Question 2: Draw Discuss the power relations between the slave and his master in The
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. (10 marks)

The power relation between the slaves and his master in The Narrative of the Life of

Frederick Douglass is depicted through the action by the masters towards their slaves. The

masters didn’t allow their slaves to have any clue regarding their age nor origin and parents. This

is to show that the slaves need to depend on their masters for whatever they wanted. The slaves

are not allowed by their masters to be educated because they are not counted as a human being

that possesses the nature of caring or having any feeling such as sad, happy or joy. The masters

also reminds their slaves on not to learn anything but only follow their masters. Slaves are not

allowed to think of reason nor logic for their master’s action. The slave owners keep their power

on their slaves by whipping at anytime. For example as in Chapter 10, “A mere look, word or

motion, a mistake, accident or want of power, are all matters for which a slave may be whipped

…forget to pull off his hat at the approach of white person, speak loudly when spoken to his

master”. They (slave owners) always find something of this sort to justify the use of their lash

and they seldom failed to embrace such opportunities. The power of owning a slave and the

absence of anyone who will question how they treat their slaves are the advantages that the

owner has towards the slaves. The slaves are brought up without knowing how to rebel is another

advantage towards the owners so that the slaves will not rebel when whipped.

Prepared by:
Sudheep Ramasamy ( B10127)
BBL 3210 American Literature: Beginning to 1900
BA English (exec) Trisem 9/2010

Question 3: Elaborate on the major principles that Walt Whitman advocates in “Song of
Myself”. (10 marks)

Walt Whitman advocates some major principles in his “Songs of Myself” as his main

point in his song. One of it was nature. He was emphasizing that the nature have absolute power

towards one’s life and death. He also said that within nature we can learn clues to our existence.

He also touches on how a human should keep moving towards perfection in his life. He gives

importance to the believes in unity and passionate as well as being dedicated to the society. He

emphasizes the significance of religion and spiritual in one’s life. How far religion can help man

to overcome his obstacles and be a successful person. Walt Whitman also portrayed the sense of

appreciating the nature and life that is shared by the same thing in nature. He also give more

weight to the freedom of a person to explore in his life in order to discover new things that will

upgrade his life in society. Throughout his song Walt Whitman suggested that real life

experiences are more valuable than what they got from books. He also put forward the

importance of learning from experience is far more effective than general knowledge. He also

gives importance toward the individualism than generals and gives more priority to individuals.

He asked to fight for the freedom of individuals in order to become a successful person.

According to Walt Whitman, heart will be always right than mind as the heart knows the pros

and cons of a certain action than mind could be. Walt Whitman emphasize the uses of our senses,

as in first part of the song, “The smoke of my own breath, echoes, ripples,…My respiration and

inspiration…the sniff of green leaves and dry leaves…the sound of the belch’d” (line 21 – 29).

He suggest the humans to go out and feel all the things that we take for granted and the common

things that we never give a chance to think about it.

Prepared by:
Sudheep Ramasamy ( B10127)
BBL 3210 American Literature: Beginning to 1900
BA English (exec) Trisem 9/2010

Question 4: What is Whitman’s attitude to life and death in “Song of Myself”? (10 marks)

Walt Whitman portrayed the attitudes to life and death throughout his song in

relation to the nature. He was saying that the life and death of human being is as like as a circle

or cycle of life. He said that whatever happened, death is something inevitable as life and birth.

He suggest people not to rely on the past and be present always as thinking of the past do nothing

good than merely wasting time and energy. He also said that he didn’t have any clue of where it

(life) starts and where it would end, “But I do not talk of the beginning or the end” (line 45 of

first part of the song). He said that life going on continuously and we as humans always have

desires that never end. Walt Whitman comparing things in life with common things such as

horse and comparing mystery with common thing too. He said that life is a mystery and we must

welcome it as for what it is to be. All he said was to stop whatever we’re doing and spend some

time to observe the nature and our world. It could teach us more than what a book could teach.

Walt Whitman also proposed the facts of life in our society together with the ideas of spiritual-

finite things. He advocates how to live together and being democratic and able to listen to all. In

the early line of part 6 of the song, he suggest that even adults can’t answer some of the simplest

questions that a small kid could answer. “A child said, what is the grass?...How could I answer

the child? I do not know what it is anymore than he” (line 97-100 of part 6 of the song). To sum

up, Walt Whitman suggest that being impulsive, democrate, unity, real-life experiences and be

practical is what a human being needed to presumably achieve the satisfaction in life.

Prepared by:
Sudheep Ramasamy ( B10127)
BBL 3210 American Literature: Beginning to 1900
BA English (exec) Trisem 9/2010

Prepared by:
Sudheep Ramasamy ( B10127)