Pride and Perseverance

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Pride and Perseverance African-American Literature consists of numerous themes or characteristics. Each story, poem, or slave narrative can be linked to an oppressive time, when the major character of each piece tried to overcome such hardships. Taking this into consideration, the two characteristics I chose to explore in our assignment are struggle and pride. In many of our readings we were exposed to characters that were dealing with difficulties in their life. However, their perseverance and pride allowed them to overcome the obstacles they fought in daily life. The slave narratives show us an in-depth illustration of pride helping to overcome one's struggle. For years and years we have heard stories about slavery and they are usually all negative, but in excerpts from "To My Old Master," "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," and "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," each of these slaves overcame their struggle and came out on top.

In "To My Old Master" it does seem as if Jourdon Anderson feels as if he owes his master something, but his instinct is not to go back. "I would rather stay here and starve and die if it comes to that than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters (Young 16)." He and his family have made a better life for themselves. Jourdon has moved his family to another area of the country, his children are in school, his wife is involved with church and he has a decent job.

In the memoir "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," Harriet Jacobs has also escaped her life as a slave. Harriet Jacobs is living her life in a small shed off of her Grandmothers house. Although Harriet has escaped her life as...