Tag Archives: Colin G.

The Birth and Rebirth of Frederick Douglass

The dawn of his life was a humble one,

never able to enjoy his mother’s presence,

probably the child of his master,

but raised only by misery.


He and other children were given few clothes,

much less beds or blankets.

The cold served as punishment,

for the wretched children of slavery.


Much too young, he was a witness to whipping,

to the cruel face of his condition.

He then passed through a blood-stained gate,

into a world made for the hopeless.


His fellow slaves often sung,

their songs said to show contentment.

Rather, they were an expression of greatest sorrow,

of a life entirely without happiness.


Fate gave this boy a chance,

through deliverance to Baltimore.

Even if he was still a slave,

this new opportunity was kindly met.


Here, over the course of time,

the young slave learned to read.

From it he expected freedom,

it led him to regret.


For years his life was hell,

as he wished to be a freeman.

And his masters wished to whip from him this will,

but he made it known; he had not submitted.


Finally he managed to secure freedom,

in a manner he will not detail.

To do so would darken the pathway for others;

a more fiendish transaction he could not have committed.


To this cause he gives his life,

the cause of ceasing this barbarity, this disgrace.

But until the day slavery was made a crime,

He wanted nothing but deliverance for those in its hands.

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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem



Classicism, Naturalism, Rationalism, Realism

Classicism is an art form/literary style which exalts and emulates the styles of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The belief that the scholars of Classical Antiquity went about the creation of art in an “ideal” way began to gain traction during the same time period as the Italian Renaissance, around the 15th century. Although it made a comeback in the 18th century in the form of Neoclassicism, the newfound faith in science caused the idealism that the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced to fall out of favor, a transition which corresponded with the beginning of Romanticism.

Rationalism is the belief that one should use scientific reasoning and experimentation to gain knowledge, rather than relying on sensory or religious experience. Rationalist thinkers are general Deists rather than Christians, because they believe that God does not interfere with his creation. Rationalist writing generally is not manifested in novels quite so much as other styles. Rather, it takes the form of more formal, informational sources, such as political pamphlets or persuasive essays.

Realism is the style of writing in which novels are seen as statements of fact, rather than idealized and inaccurate portrayals of an event. One of the defining characteristics of a realist novel is attention to detail. In the Romantic style which preceded it, scenes were set to be more vague and dreamlike, with the reader comprehending the story because of the emotions that the writing evokes. Realist novels seek to avoid the haze of emotion that Romanticism cast upon writing, instead relying upon a thorough description of the plot and scene to ensure that the reader understands the message that is being conveyed.

Naturalism is a type of literature which attempts to form a detached study of human tendencies, and the learn the patterns of humanity by objectively studying humans. In essence, it is a more intense, concentrated version of the ideas of the Realist movement. Where a Realist novel might seek to tell a story in an objective, detailed manner, a Naturalist novel goes a step further, exploring the less desirable aspects of the world (death, violence, poverty) in extreme detail. Naturalism also puts more focus on psychology than its parent movement. Authors of Naturalist novels tend to explore in depth the motivations of their characters to perform certain actions, which adds an entire lair of conflict (the internal struggle that characters face) that had been, to an extent, undeveloped in previous literary movements.

Literary Style in Frankenstein

Mary W. Shelley’s Frankenstein is generally labelled as being written in the Romantic or Gothic styles. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t any connection between her novel and the styles described in the preceding paragraphs. Rather, Romanticism was inspired largely by the dominant schools of thought which preceded it. This did not, however, happen in a direct way. In fact, Realism and Romanticism are considered to be polar opposites. Realism, and its closely related counterparts of Naturalism and Rationalism, represent the ideals which were highly touted during the Enlightenment. Under these movements, art and literature were expected to fit within certain parameters, and to adhere strictly to empirical, logical, and scientific concepts, lest they be considered foolish. Romanticism arose as when authors began to tire of writing within the tricky, fixed parameters of Realism, instead preferring to describe in a story their feelings or the feelings of a character. In the way, Romanticism (and in extension, Frankenstein) relate more closely to Classicism, which is more permissive of idealism and writing based on an emotional inspiration rather than a logical, thought-based one.



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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Frankenstein



Amerigo Vespucci

 Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512) was an Italian explorer, cartographer, and navigator who  participated in  several  expeditions to the New World as an observer.

 Born in Florence, Italy, Vespucci came from a wealthy and influential family. He was a merchant by  trade, and had the opportunity to meet Christopher Columbus soon after his return from the New World  in 1496. This conversation piqued the interest of Vespucci, who had a desire to explore this land  himself.

 Sailing on behalf of the Spanish and Portuguese, Vespucci traveled to the New World several times  between 1499 and 1504.During these trips, he and his shipmates discovered that South America  extended much further south than previously thought. According to one letter thought to have been written by Vespucci, he actually embarked on his first voyage in 1497, a voyage on which he discovered Venezuela a full year before Columbus. However, many historians believe this letter to be of dubious legitimacy.

 Until this time, New World explorers still thought that they had traveled around the world and were in Asia. After several exploratory expeditions, Vespucci realized how incongruous the lands he was exploring were with the actual shape of Asia, and came to the conclusion that they had in fact discovered a new continent.

After his “retirement” from voyaging, Vespucci was made a naturalized citizen of Spain and granted the title of Master Navigator, a position which he used to educate further explorers and come up with innovations that would help their cause, such as an early manifestation of the latitude-longitude system.

In 1507, a German cartographer, Martin Waldseemüller, created a world map which was updated to reflect the discoveries of the New World up to that time. Maps created during this time were customarily written in Latin. As a tribute to Vespucci, Waldseemüller called the new continent America, which is the feminine form of Americus, the Latin version of the name Amerigo.

In 1512, at the age of 57, Vespucci died in Seville, Spain. The cause of death is uncertain, but is thought to have been malaria.

A map showing the dates of Vespucci’s voyages, as well as their routes.

The map by Martin Waldseemüller on which the new continent is named after Vespucci.

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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia