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The study of paratext by Gerald Genette is a main taxonomic and synchronic approach and is based on the postulation that there is a neat boundary between what we can grade as text and the elements we can group together under the heading of paratext. This paper helps to show that the connection between these two essentials is more complex than Genette suggests. The term paratext itself is not only saddled is with a potentially immeasurable number of fundamentals, but also in the way that these essentials interrelate with texts which cannot be condensed to a uniform margin that applies in all cases. Paratext has a potentially boundless proliferation and it shares a fuzzy border with text and due to this it affects the way we talk about text. This paper explores this issue and focuses on the concept of paratext from a synchronic to a diachronic point of view. This approach moves away from a clean taxonomy of spatially oriented categories hence enabling us to examine the way that literary works are represented over time.
Effort has been made classify Harriet Ann Jacobs 'Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl’ which was written by Herself as an example of the typical slave narrative, however , these efforts have in largely failed. Nevertheless, narrow observance of this conviction limits actual appreciation of the text's depth and enables only part understanding of the author herself. Jacobs's story is her own, political as well as personal. Although she does describe from the genre of her citizens, the slave narrative, to give life and limb to her appeal for the abolition of slavery in America, she at the same time threads a confinement narrative, a fictitious, and a seduction novel through the text as well.
Originally, there is lack of clarity of genre lines which appear not consistent, or differing to the harmony of the work. However, further reflection brings out the fact that this "muddying" is in fact the Incidents' strength. By designing her narrative resembling a seduction novel Jacobs was guaranteed her story would be read by many of the northern female readers she sought to reach. Slavery was a horrifying institution that brought many atrocities to specific race of people. Female slavery was different from that of men. It was not less harsh, but it was special. Sexual harassment, giving birth and child care everyday jobs affected the females their pattern of confrontation and how they carried on with their lives. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, shows the diverse roles that women slaves had and the torture that were caused from having to endure with sexual harassments. (Jacobs, 1861) This is the statement that Jacobs used to specify her reason for writing and her projected audience. This understanding gives readers an insight of why she chose to include what she did in her story. Jacobs grow up as a slave and was frequently exposed to sexual demands from her master. She was enforced to gain knowledge of what it meant to be a slave as a woman and the exploits that she would have to bear. Christianity teaches the values of goodwill, respect and generosity but despite these Christian slave traders appear to leave out themselves from these values, which is without a doubt hypocritical.
Young Frederick Douglass published the powerful description of his life in oppression and his victory over tyranny just a few years after eloping from slavery. The book, marked the commencement of Douglass's livelihood as a fervent writer, orator for the abolitionist cause and a journalist, brings out the anguish he endured as a slave, the fatalities of his owners and care takers, and his tormenting flee to the North. It has become a typical American memoir.
Douglass' narrative commences with the few details he knows about his birth and background; his dad is an owner of slave while his mother is a slave by the name Harriet Bailey. Douglass elopes to the North to live with the Auld family when seven or eight years old. Mrs. Auld assists in giving Douglass reading lessons until her husband prevents her good efforts.. Douglass furthers his lessons by trading bread for exchange with poor locality white boys and by use of Thomas' books. Douglass is lent to a poor farmer with repute for battering slaves. On evasion, Douglass is advised to move to New Bedford and settle there with his wife, Anna Murray Although he still fears being trapped and he returns to the South, where he attends an anti-slavery convention and is encouraged to speak. This forms the commencement of his life in the public eye, speaking and writing in favor of the eradication of slavery. (Phillipes, 97)
Douglass highlights the widespread practice of white slave owners sexually harassing slave women to satisfy their sexual desires and to increase their slave numbers. In the initial episode, Douglass also mentions insincerity of Christian slave owners who used sacred teachings to validate their objectionable treatment of slaves. Religious observance of slave owners is a recurring argument in the text. In the next number of chapters, Douglass expounds on the circumstances in which he and other slaves were put through. He argues in disagreement to the idea that slaves who sing are comfortable, instead, he proffered singing to crying as a way to alleviate sorrow. Douglass also brings awareness on the sham system of principles created by slavery, in which loyalty to the slave master is far stronger than a commitment to other slaves.
Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs and others all shared a vision of freedom. All they wanted to do was share their freedom with their families and their people, and they went about doing it in their own way. They were strong-minded to gain their freedom no matter how far down the road they had to go. Douglass and Jacobs both went through similar troubles with slavery and what they did to gain their freedom. Both were slaves the only difference was their sex. Douglass sought to gain freedom for himself whereas Jacobs sought freedom for herself and her children.