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Discussion questions: Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the LifeEarlier

1. Choose one of the following two discussion questions:
Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the LifeEarlier in this course, we read Franklin’s autobiography. Please demonstrate and illuminate some similarities between that book and Douglass’s Narrative of the Life. Please remember to focus on specific aspects of the texts, to stay focused overall, and to develop your response with a beginning, middle, and an end.
Whitman vs. Dickinson
Please compare Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” with the three assigned poems by Emily Dickinson. I realize that this may seem difficult to do in such a small space, but how you define your own thesis will determine the scope of the response. Remember: Be focused and be textually specific.
2. Which one of these two African American authors, Frederick Douglass, in Narrative of the Life, or Harriet Jacobs, in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, most clearly, most definitively, most movingly portrays the experience of a former slave? It is up to you to decide, so please defend your answer well.
3. The poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman has been described as being emotionally opposite to each other. Dickinson’s poetry seems at times colder and more critical; whereas Whitman’s poetry conversely seems warm and expansive. First of all, do you agree? If so, then, develop for me a case that one of them or both are representative of American literature. Make your case and defend it.


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