Slave narratives comprise one of  the most influential traditions in American literature, shaping the form  and themes of some of the most celebrated and controversial writing, in  both autobiography and fiction, in the history of the United States. 

Read the three slave narratives below and answer the following questions: 

  • How do Douglass and Jacobs portray slavery in their narratives? How are they similar? How are they different?
  • What  is the threat that slavery in general and the two white men, Covey and  Flint, in particular represent to the two teenagers, Frederick and  Harriet, as we encounter them in the selected passages from the Douglass  and Jacobs texts?
  • In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,  Jacobs states that “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more  terrible for women.” Would Douglass have agreed? Why or why not? Explain  your answer completely.

Links to narratives:

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