For my final analysis paper I choose the novel "Our Nig...." or "Sketches from the Life of a free Black, In A Two-Story White House, North". To begin there is an on going debate of wether the book should be classified as a novel or a autobiographical narrative. At first I sided with the reading being a novel, but after reading the short history of Harriet Wilson I am crossed as to what she intended the book to be. I ultimately concluded it was written as a novel which Wilson drew from her own life experiences to tell the story of a young mulatto girl named Frado. Frado, who's story is one of preservation, shows constant struggle to survive she faces daily torturous consciences everyday under the indentured servitude of her masters the Bellmont family. Though out the novel there are a number of issues that arise worthy of discussion.
The first noted was the constant theme of abandonment and the nurture/nature aspect. Like Wilson, Frado is abandoned by her mother Mag, left on a farm in hopes the family would take her in. There after the many deaths accruing though out the novel leaving Frado the constant subject of abuse from Mrs. B and her daughter Mary. There are also three mother figures presented in the novel Mag, Mrs. Bellmont, and Aunt Abbey (Nab). While Mag and Mrs. B are perceived as the missing mother figures, they allow Frado to come of age independently were she embarks on a journey to womanhood seemingly alone if not for Aunt Abbey. Towards the middle of the novel, Aunt Abby is announced brought into the store line as the caring mother figure in Frado's life. Introducing religion as a guide to Frado. In turn Frado turns to her biblical studies as a replacement of the mother figure,the mother usually being the one who teaches a young woman the virtues of life. Although she did have some positive influence through Aunt Abbey the abandonment factors is still one Frado can not escape, she in turn does the same thing to her child who she leaves with a care giver as soon as he healthy enough to part from his mother.
Moving on to the reference of religion in the novel. Not only is religion a set bases for certain settings it is used as hypocritical analogy showing the contradictory beliefs of the Bellmont household. Frado's mistress wanting her to abide by the god fearing ethics of a devote Christian, is constantly reminding our young mulatto of her skin color. Scorning Frado for reading her bible and wanting to attend services Mrs. B is set on making Frado think she in unworthy of god or his praises. This being one big slap in the face Frado loses hope. Once again installing in Frado that she is nothing and has nothing, in what seems to be another attempt to subdue her so as she feels she can never leave her mistress.
Gender and the roles of women in the novel also play an important role in the storyline. Mr. Bellmont the patriarch of the family has a kind, but passive demeanor. Mr. Bellmont is seen to me as no more than a...