Premium Essay

How Does Harriet Wilson Present Stereotypes In Our Nig

Submitted By
Words 643
Pages 3
Throughout her autobiography, Harriet Wilson relies on the reversal of nineteenth century archetypes based on class and gender to further its plot. The novel revolves around the life of its protagonist, Frado, and we see her grow from child to adult while facing the brutality of being black in America at the time. What complicates the story line, however, is the fact that Wilson sets the events of it in the northern United States, an area where slaves were considered free men; despite this, her writing exposes the cruelty even free black men and women still faced in the north—a life and reality depicted as equivalent, and sometimes even worse, than slaves in the south. It serves us to analyze Wilson’s use of characterization for the purpose of understanding the exchange between this plot and the reversal of stereotypes she employs. In portraying these reversals, Wilson develops the central theme and argument of Our Nig—that outward appearance and stereotyping fail to accurately predict the actual thoughts, feelings, and actions of a person, all of this revealed in the discordance between the two. …show more content…
Looking to the end of the novel, we see the same fate played out by Frado as by her mother in the novel’s introduction: each are married to a black man, each of them have a child, each of their first husbands die, each of them remarry. And none of it is simply coincidence. Wilson purposely sets the rest of her narrative within the confines of these pieces of the story, that they may form an apposition between the two characters and illustrate the events of the novel as cyclical and never-ending. The means by which this comparison pulls together to create this cycle trope is functionally generational; Frado becomes like her mother Mag—not exactly the same, but near

Similar Documents