Introduction to Jubilee

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Introduction to Jubilee

  1. 1. Jubilee  A brief introduction to the book, its context, and its format
  2. 2. Answer this:  Have you written any papers, essays, that could possibly evolve into a book?  Would you be willing to write about the history of your family for a book to be assigned to an undergraduate English course?  What would you title it?
  3. 3. The Genesis of Jubilee  Based upon Walker’s maternal grandmother – Elvira Ware Dozier  Dozier told Walker stories about slave life in Georgia; Walker first used the stories for a class assignment  The collected stories grew into Walker’s dissertation  The dissertation became the book in 1966
  4. 4. “How I Wrote Jubilee”  Essay written by Walker details the process of writing the book  From 1934-1966, the book was written and worked on (rough drafts)  The book was completed during the Black Arts Movement (great timing for marketing)  Considered a slave narrative novel  A reflective history: 1966 (author) to 1839 (character)
  5. 5. Basic Framework  Based on the lives of Walker’s maternal grandparents  Begins with a death-ends with a birth (significant and symbolic since death gives life reality)  Told from the point of view of a Black woman  Focus on family and life on the plantation
  6. 6. Consider this:  How does Walker’s present history impact the history that she writes about?  Does our present perspective alter the reality of the past truth?  Can Walker be truly objective or is fiction safer to be subjective?  Why NOT write a biography instead of a novel of grandma Dozier?
  7. 7. Ponder this….  What is the true difference between fiction and biography?  Are all biographies true? What then is the difference between an authorized biography and an unauthorized biography?  How do you know the content of a biography is accurate?
  8. 8. Walker states:  “I had always intended Jubilee to be a folk novel based on folk material: folk sayings, folk beliefs, and folkways…”  Note the title of her sections  Note the epigraphs (old spirituals and slave songs)  Note the Biblical references  Note the language, dialect of slaves
  9. 9. General format  Follows format for slave narratives  Oral history of Vyry  The protagonist is a slave woman (a more modern premise); most protagonists were men  Historic references are important in this text; look for specific references in each section
  10. 10. Sections of the Book Section 1 = 1839-1860 (Bondage) Section 2 = 1861-1865 (Escape) Section 3 = 1866-1870 (Freedom) Section 2 coincides with the Civil War Section 3 coincides with the Reconstruction Period  Notes the events that occur during each period     
  11. 11. Similar to:  Harriet Tubman (Do you know who she is?)  Maria Child – Incidents of a Life of A Slave Girl  Other slave narratives and oral histories of early African American writers  Alex Haley’s Roots
  12. 12. Interesting facts  Book was never considered for a film because of Haley’s Roots  The “seed” of the book was a personal essay Walker had to write for an English class  L. Hughes felt that Walker modeled Randall off of Wright; Wright was mad

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