This class is over American Women’s History, to 1865. The essay is Length: 3-5 pages
Choose one of the following memoirs to read:
Mary Jemison, Life of Mary Jemison
Abigail Bailey, Memoirs of Abigail Bailey: Who Had Been the Wife of Major Asa Bailey
(biography, letters, and diary entries)
Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House
The basic task of the memoir paper is to use the memoir as evidence with which you can make an argument about some aspect of womens lives in the past. Depending on the memoir you read, you might ask yourself, How does this womans life shed light on:
The differences between Euro-American and Native American gender roles and status?
The nature of marriage among whites?
The role of coverture in shaping womens experiences, power, status?
The intersection of race and gender in slavery?
The experience of female slaves?
This list of questions is not exhaustive, but just designed to get you thinking. The questions raise issues that we have already read about in class. This is good it means that you can use our course readings to contextualize the memoirists life, to explain the society in which she lived, to explore how she is or is not typical, etc.
As with the VSAs, so in this longer paper I will be looking for your paper to have: a clear thesis; clear writing including strong topic sentences, analysis of evidence, and transitions between paragraphs; good use of specific evidence quotations and examples from texts that you analyze (rather than leave hanging).
I would like to do my essay over Abigail Bailey I think, but let me know which one you would think would possibly be easiest and also let me know if you can read all of the instructions because the color turned out light.
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