Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Slave narratives

Adams believed that no theme was more important in the American Dream than what he called 'the American dream of a better, richer and happier life for all our citizens of every rank'. 

However, this view is entirely contradicted by primary source material from a slave called John W. Fields who recalled that 'In most of us colored folks was the great desire to [be] able to read and write. We took advantage of every opportunity to educate ourselves. The greater part of the plantation owners were very harsh if we were caught trying to learn or write.' 

Therefore he was denied the ability to improve himself in anyway and have neither a 'better,richer or happier life' although it is clear from his account that 'most of us colored folks' had 'the great desire to be able to read and write'. Surely in the American Dream a desire would be able to become a reality but here we see that the American dream was not open 'for all our citizens of every rank' on equal levels. 

'Our ignorance was the greatest hold the South had on us' is equally telling as the American dream is often more commonly associated in modern times with hedonistic culture and vast wealth rather than a simple desire to be educated so that a person such as a slave could improve themselves and have a better life on a small scale.

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