Douglass pt. 2

“I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact”(Fredrick Douglass). When Douglass said this quote, he was describing his current life situation at the time. Douglass was still a technically a slave at the time of this quote, but since Douglass has taught himself t0 read (maybe write too at this point in the story  I don’t remember) and he has discovered many of the tricks slave owners use to control their slaves, he feels that he is no longer a slave mentally. Basically when douglass says he is still “a slave in form”, he is saying that he is still physically enslaved, but when he says he is no longer a “slave in fact”, he is telling people that he has broken the bonds of mental slavery and his thoughts can no longer be controlled by his masters.

Douglass and Emerson

Emerson stressed the important of individualism, especially in education. As a slave, Fredric Douglass was not allowed to read or write, but taught himself anyway. He was no ‘book worm’ though, most of what makes Fredric Douglass as remarkable as he was are the experiences he encountered. Emerson describes the book worm as someone who absorbs information, but does not analyze it critically or form their own opinion on it. Douglass did opposite of the bookworm, he challenged the authority of slave owners and came to the conclusion on his own that slavery was immoral. He even fought one of his masters and attempted to escape from his owners. The bookworms in the story of Douglass, were the slaves who did not defy oppression and the white people who saw the terrible machine that is the slave trade, knew it was wrong, and said and did nothing.

“The first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature”(Emerson). Both Emerson and Whitman understand the importance nature has in learning and experience, also this quote ties in to the relationship between nature and the ‘universal I’. Whitman reflects many Emersonian ideas, such as nature as means of escape, where you can truly be oneself. “In self-trust, all the virtues are comprehended. Free should the scholar be, — free and brave.” (Emerson). This quote stresses individualism, much like Whitman does in “Leaves of Grass”. It also draws on the idea that memorization of facts does not make someone intelligent, that true intelligence comes from original thought. Both Emerson and Whitman stress the importance of being unique.

First Blog/Narrative

Into the wild, by Jon Krakauer, is a biographical story about Chris McCandless, a young man in his early twenties who dropped out of school to wander around the country and live in the wild. The big ‘transformative role’ that nature plays in Chris’s story is that it kills him. The story starts off with a living protagonist, he decides to run off into nature, he ends up dying. To be fair to nature, thats is not its only role in the story. Nature may have killed Chris in the end, but it also made him feel alive and free while he was still living.