students already know about African American history, the experiences of American slavery, and the struggle for abolition and equal rights, but I hope that everyone will be able to find something surprising and/or novel in Douglass’s narrative (and/or the links collections from the Library of Congress). Please identify (referring specifically to the source) at least one detail from any of those sources that you think is especially noteworthy and say why.

In a 1000 – 1250 word academic essay, offer an idea (as your thesis) that is comments upon something we have read this semester.  You may choose to develop an idea that you have introduced in one of our 1-2 page essays (which you have submitted during the semester).  You may also develop a fresh idea, perhaps something you’ve considered during our Discussion Boards. For examples of excellent essays, see sample literature papers.

Develop your idea with precise, accurate evidence and valid, complete logic.

Minimally, the essay requires: 

  • an introduction that identifies the main work(s) and author(s) you’ll consider and a thesis statement that expresses your main idea.
  • a thesis that refers to a  limited scope, that makes the author responsible for discussion of only some limited aspect of a work
  • body paragraphs that  break down your main idea and a) show us what evidence affected your thinking and b) logically explain how the evidence supported your thinking.
  • a full development of the logic of your thesis, considering subtleties. 
  • sentences that are carefully edited. Essays with more than five major errors will be penalized.
  • MLA format. Any outside sources must be professionally cited, and our textbook should be listed on a works cited page. (Plagiarism will result in either a zero on the assignment or an “F” in the course, at the instructor’s discretion.) For a review of MLA format, please see the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

Read Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, pages 1171 – 1240 in the Norton anthology of America literature 

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