English Essay #21
John Thompson was a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery by white men. He was torn from his family and his freedom and forced to live as a slave. Thompson had something in common with another slave he knew who names was Elisa in that they had both been separated from their children by slavery. Elisa’s children were taken from her and sold to a man who lived far away. Thompson and Elisa had both been through a lot losing their children, but they reacted very differently to their situations. Elisa was crippled with grief, she never really worked as hard again and stayed in despair. Thompson on the other hand missed his kids and he was determined to get back to them.
One reason that Thompson’s reaction was so different from Elisa’s was that he was the one taken forced into slavery very suddenly and he was so busy thinking about his situation for the first few weeks that his grief was secondary. He was focused on escaping that he didn’t think about the possibility of not seeing his family again.
Another important reason is that he knew that his children were safe. He was the one in danger, but he didn’t have to worry about his kid’s safety. That was very different form Elisa’s situation. Elisa’s didn’t know whether her kids would be alive in a few months!
Thompson’s mindset was that of a free man. He didn’t believe that it was “just the way it is” that he was in slavery. He was sure he had been wronged and that gave him the determination to keep up hope of escape. Elisa was used to being a slave. She wasn’t hopeful that her situation would get any better, so she fell into despair.
I think that the biggest reason that Thompson had a different reaction than Elisa is that he really had hope that he would see his children again. He never let himself think that he would never see his family again.
English Essay #20
John Thompson (1812-1860) was a slave who escaped and wrote an autobiography about his experience. Needless to say, he was against the institution of slavery and argued against it in his book. Thompson tried to show his point of view of slavery with his book, to let people know how wrong the system was. So did Thompson provide a good argument?
One thing that Thompson showed clearly was that power corrupts. He had many examples of slave owners who became tyrants because they were given absolute power over many other human beings. Since one man owned his slaves no one could tell him how to use or treat his property. This allowed the owner to do whatever he felt like doing to his slaves for whatever reason. There were examples of good owners who were able to avoid getting drunk on power and becoming cruel, but they were few.
Since one man could do what ever he felt like with his slaves it often lead to another big problem with slavery. The sanctions (punishments and rewards) were often inconsistent and usually worse than they should be. The punishments in particular were almost always out of whack. Thompson had several stories of slaves who attacked an overseer and were whipped so badly that they said they should have just killed the man so they could be executed quickly and not have to endure the pain. If you made a small mistake as a slave you might not know whether you would get completely off the hook or get almost killed for your offense.
Thompson also touched on the fact that slavery undermined the family of the slaves. Most slaves weren’t allowed to marry legally so they just made promises to each other. But the big problem was that families were split up when the owners decided to sell them.
He also believed that slavery was unfair because it made white believe people that they were superior to blacks. This attitude of white men resulted in unfair treatment and cruelty. It also caused people from both races to be closed minded toward members of the other race, making assumptions too quickly about individuals. This whole situation prevented a free black man from getting treated as he deserved and didn’t give him an opportunity to show his merits as a person or a worker.
These stories and experiences that Thompson shares throughout his book are all good evidence that slavery is wrong. In my opinion John Thompson did a great job in his argument against slavery.
English Essay #19
John Thompson was a slave who escaped and wrote an autobiography about his life, his slavery and his escape. Throughout the book he shows that he hated slavery and argues against it strongly. So what did Thompson think about the sanctions, and particularly punishments, that happened in slavery?
Thompson said that there are many evils of slavery, it undermined the Negro family, split up siblings, and often resulted in sever abuse. One of the greatest evils he mentioned was the way that sanctions were abused. As the old saying goes, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Many people when given absolute power over another human being become tyrants, and Thompson’s book shows that. He made it clear that there were people who were good and fare masters who resisted the temptation to be tyrants but there were many, many more who were just plain cruel.
Most slave owners would give punishments that were much worse than the slave who did wrong deserved. In fact is was not uncommon for slave owners to whip their slaves for no reason! The sanctions were so twisted that if a slave ever attacked an overseer he would usually end up wishing that he had just killed the man so that he could be hanged and be done with the pain. Several times throughout his book Thompson told stories of slaves who threated to kill anyone who whipped them because they would rather die than be whipped once more. The owners of such slaves usually left them alone if they were good workers.
So Thompson believed that one of the worst things about slavery was that it gave one man the power to punish any infraction however severely he wanted and such power usually turned that man into a tyrant. If you did something as small as break a dish as a slave, you would be terrified, because you wouldn’t know whether you would get beaten within an inch of your life or get off with some other minor punishment. That is a great evil and a big problem.
English Essay #17
The question of wether or not to include reconstructed dialogue in your autobiography is a very important one. It can be hard to decide, because the choice whether or not to reconstruct a conversation depends on so many different things.
It is important to consider how you are organizing you book. Are you making each chapter a separate story that supports the main theme? Are you going to go chronologically through your life and tell your life story? There are countless ways to organize and write an autobiography and the method that you choose has a big effect on wether you will include reconstructed conversations. If each of you chapters is a separate story, for example, you can go into much more detail and it is much easier to include dialogue, then if you are looking more at the big picture all the time.
Also you should think about your target audience. Will they enjoy dialogue, or would they rather you “tell” you the story?
You need to take into account you writing style as well. Are you trying to sound like you are telling a story, or are you trying to make it sound like a novel? It is much more natural to include dialogue in some writing styles more than others.
Make sure that the conversation you include is important. This is probably the most important thing to consider, how big a deal is this conversation anyway? This is especially true for autobiographies. In most cases you don’t need dialogue, and there are many places were you only need a few sentences on what the conversation was about and what it accomplished.
You need to be carful with dialogue in an autobiography, since in most cases you don’t need it and it is usually hard to remember what was said in a conversation years ago.
English Essay #16
When people think of autobiographies, they usually think of rich or famous people writing books about themselves. Many famous people write autobiographies so that their fans can get more insight into their personality, and find out how they became so successful. But anyone can write an autobiography, in fact there are some benefits to writing one yourself.
The first and most obvious benefit is, it is a great way to save your most important memories. Writing an autobiography gives you a nice book full of all your most important memories to look back on. A book about your life is a good way to remember your life.
Even if you aren’t planning on selling it, an autobiography would be a good thing to leave to your kids after you die. Writing any book, but especially an autobiography, is a good way to leave a legacy, and be remembered in your family. An autobiography could be very interesting to future generations. They will be interested in what it was like to live in your time, and what your life was like.
If you have a special skill, have achieved success in a particular area of your life, or gone through a particularly hard struggle in your life, an autobiography is a good way to tell people how you did it. Telling people how you achieved something will make an interesting read. It will make people realize that they can do it to!
Starting a business is a good theme for an autobiography, and if you have a business, an autobiography might be a good from of advertisement.
You might even make some money from it. If you do a good job and have a decent story to tell, people could buy it and your book might became the source of a small side income.
So there are many and varied reasons that people write autobiographies, and there are also several benefits to writing one of your own.
English Essay #15
Mark Twain is most famous for the classic novels that he wrote, and for the humor that was a part of his writing style. He struggled to write his autobiography though. It stands out form other such autobiographies because of how disjointed and unorganized it is. Mark Twain’s autobiography is not much more than a collection of well written and completely random short stories about his life. He tells stories that don’t matter to most readers and completely leaves out things that have historical significance. like the outbreak of the Civil War and how it effected him and others. It is enjoyable to read the individual stories but they don’t flow together very well.
We can still learn from Mark Twain’s book though. There is a lot that we can learn from his mistakes. In order to write a more organized autobiography, you need to decide what the main thing is you want to get across? Is it a struggle you had and how you overcame it, is it the story of how you became successful or talented at something, or is it simply about how certain key events in your life shaped you? There are many themes or stories that your autobiography can be about, and it is o.k. to have a secondary theme, but you need to know what your main goal is.
After you know what you want to accomplish, it is time to take the step that Twain struggled with, organization. It is easier to organize after you know what you want to say. You just need to pick the stories and events from your live that support or give insight into your main theme. Once you have your chore stories, organize them in order and write based on that basic outline. This way of writing will keep it from being so disorganized.
What we learn from Mark Twain is simple, organization is very important. While reading his book is enjoyable, you don’t get any “big picture” and if he had anything that he wanted to get across to the reader, besides his personality, he failed. I don’t think that Mark Twain had any particular moral or story that he wanted to tell, which is a big reason why he found it so difficult to write his autobiography. If you ever write an autobiography, or any book, make sure that you have a plan before you go for it.
English Essay #13
George Washington Plunkett was a famous New York politician in the early 1900’s. He was part of Tammany Hall, which was a Democratic political machine in New Yory at the time.
In his autobiography Plunkett makes three things clear. Number one is the difference between honest graft and dishonest graft. The second thing is that city politics in that time were dependent on your willingness to Serve and help people. The third thing that he made clear was how much he opposed the Civil Service movement.
Plunkett got very rich by practicing what he called “honest graft”. He was very upfront about how he made his money because, as he said it was perfectly honest. Basically if he got wind that the city was planning on making a big improvement to a certain part of the city, he would buy property in that area and sell it off after it had gained value. He claimed that this was totally different from”dishonest graft”. He defined dishonest graft as breaking the law to make money in politics. He said that practicing dishonest graf was unacceptable, not only because it was wrong, but also because their was so much opportunity for honest graft in politics. Today all graft is illegal, so there is no such thing as honest graft any more.
Plunkett got his popularity from his willingness to help people. He believed that to be successful in politics you must be a servant to people. He made a point of helping get jobs for people who didn’t have any, even republicans. He also helped out families who had fallen on hard times. Plunkett paid particular attention to young men, he recognized that they were the future and wanted to get them involved in politics. As a way of gaining the loyalty of young men, Plunkett would find out what they were good at or proud of. He then gave the young men a chance to show themselves off by placing them in a baseball club if they were an athlete, or a choir if they liked to sing.
Civil Service was a movement that look many offices out of elected officials hands and hired “experts” to take their place and do the job full time. Plunkett was a fierce enemy of Civil Service reform. He believed that a politician should have the chance to hold any office and didn’t think that it was a good idea to have regularly paid professionals, who were immune to votes hold any office. Also Civil Service didn’t like honest graft, it was trying to get ride of it. This was a big problem to Plunkett because he believed that without the ability to get rewarded and make a lot of money, many young men would loose interest in politics (0r as Plunkett said, “loss their patriotism”).
George Washington Plunkett’s autobiography does a good job of showing what city politics were like in the early 1900’s.