Scape from Slavery (Frederick Douglass, 1838)

This paper should be a critical analysis of this story:


For your analysis you should be careful that you do not summarize the content too much and analyze it too little. In other words, you are expected to provide thoughtful, critical analysis of its content, its historical context, and the historical cultural values that shape it, not just a summary of the document. The goal is to critically examine the words on the page for deeper meaning the feelings, biases, fears, and motivations of the person in the historical period it was written. In structuring your Primary Source Analysis Essay, you must address as many of the following questions that apply (not all questions will be able to be answered by the document you selected.). Do not simply list answers to the questions below.

You do not need to address the questions in order, but be sure that you address all questions that are relevant to your source in your essay.

Basic Identification  The Author (As much as you can determine from the introduction of the source as well as the document itself.)

1. What type of source is it? (newspaper article, a person letter, diary, etc.)
2. When and where was it created?
3. Who created it?

Author s Intent and Reliability

1. What is the author s place in society? (profession, status, class, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
2. How might the factors listed in the question above shape the author s perspective in this source?
3. Evaluate the reliability of this account was this first hand knowledge?
3. Why do you think the author created this source i.e., was there a particular purpose?
4. Does the author have an argument? If so, what is it?
5. Who is the intended audience for this source?
6. How might the intended audience shape the perspective of this source?

Historical Context

1. Under what specific historical circumstances was this source created?
2. What larger historical events, processes, or structures might have influenced this text?
3. Is this source consistent with what you know about the historical record from that time?

Content of the Source

1. What historical facts do you learn from this source?
2. What biases or other cultural factors might have shaped the message of this source?
3. What ideals and values of the period are understood by reading this document?

Thank You.