Different People: Duplicate Purpose In 1845, Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, wrote and published Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Mr. Douglass wrote this narrative as a way of proving his background of slavery, as he was an eloquent man having no traits of an ex-slave, thus helping the abolitionist cause. He used many details, including names, events, and those names associated with such events as harsh beatings and starvation. He had been educated partially by his one master's wife, and taught himself everything else he knew, leave the little help he received from poor children on the streets of Baltimore. The Narrative gave insight into the world of a slave, and gave greater drive to the abolitionists to end slavery.
In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe, a white woman, completed and published Uncle Tom's Cabin. Mrs. Stowe wrote the novel based upon her experiences with runaway slaves while her family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for eighteen years.
She writes her novel in Brunswick, Maine, and greatly helps the abolitionist doctrine. Here she is inclined to end her novel with a statement that most of the happenings within the text were actual events, stories told to her by these innocuous people, criminals under the Fugitive Slave Law. She was a highly educated woman, receiving an education from Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut, her home state. Her name was hated among those in the South, as she was an abolitionist, and a woman. Uncle Tom's Cabin also intensified the tension between the two sides of the broken nation.
These two dissimilar individuals, when juxtapositioned, seem to pose no comparison, yet in the details of their abolitionist literature, many ideas about slavery do link. Frederick Douglass, in his Narrative, describes the beatings of slaves while the master recited Scripture to justify his acts. He does include an Appendix at the very end of the Narrative, and discusses his views on Christianity. He says that he is not against the religion itself, but strongly abhors the hypocrisy of "Christians" in the South. Harriet Beecher Stowe was raised in a Christian atmosphere, as her father Lyman Beecher was a Presbyterian minister. At the very end of her novel, in her concluding personal remarks, Ms. Stowe references the judgment of mankind. She says that slavery must be ended by the acts of Christian people, especially Northerners, or they will be severely punished with the wrath of God. Her tone is much stronger than Douglass' Narrative, and she almost reminds me of a Puritan, preaching Hell-fire.
I believe that these commentaries on Christianity are at the end of each book because it was a very delicate subject, and people would be more likely to reject their works if they were at the beginning. The reader gains a more open mind when reading the full work, thus accepting the commentaries better at the end.
Two different backgrounds. Two different views on life. Two completely different people. Two great thinkers. These two leaders in a movement that would change the face of our country forever give us insight today about the things that make or break a person. We should look up to two people who were both part of a detested group, blacks and women. They may have been very different, but they definitely shared something, boldness, something that we could all use.