US History to 1865

US History to 1865

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In analyzing The Confessions of Nat Turner and Related Documents for
your third essay, keep in mind the following questions: Did you like
this book? Why/why not? Who was Nat Turner and why did he adopt the
course of action he did—both in terms of rebelling and in agreeing to
convey his narrative to Thomas R. Gray? Who was Gray? What were Gray’s
motives in seeking the ‘confession’ of Nat Turner and publishing it?
What was Gray’s perspective on Turner and the rebellion? Why? To what
degree did this perspective have any influence on the tone and
contents of ‘the Confessions of Nat Turner’? Why? To what degree,
then, is this document the product of Turner’s sensibilities and
thinking and to what degree is it the product of Gray’s sensibilities
and thinking? To what degree does this mixing of ‘editorial
responsibility’ make any difference in both our understanding of the
document (and its effects) and on the character of American history,
especially with respect to slavery and what we call ‘race relations’
today? Why?

In turn, to what degree does Gray’s involvement in the production of
this narrative affect our understanding of Turner and his career? What
happened to Turner, in terms of reality and in terms of the effects of
the rebel and his rebellion? Why? What do Professor Greenberg’s
introduction and the documents he has offered to us tell us about
Turner, his world, and his rebellion? Why were these
documents—including ‘the Confessions’—created—and by whom (see above)?
What to they purport to tell us? What do you think they really tell us
about the character of American society and culture at this time? Why
do you think the way you do?

 

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