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guidelines for book journal
You will turn in one book journal based on Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years A Slave. As you read keep a journal organized by chapters of your reactions and responses to the specific incidents and/or interpretations in each chapter. Begin the journal with the Preface or Introduction if applicable; end the journal with the conclusion or epilogue if applicable. Do not simply tell me that you “enjoyed” it or that it was “interesting.” Indeed, avoid those terms. The purpose of the journal is to assure that you comprehend the book, can grapple with the problems that it raises, and to encourage you to think analytically and critically about the author’s ideas and research. Ask yourself, as you write in the journal, such questions: Do I agree with the author? Why or why not? What thoughts or ideas does the author stimulate within me? What kinds of arguments does the author advance? Do I agree or disagree? Why or why not? Might one consider the book a cultural, social, political or military history? How does this chapter enhance and/or alter my concept of a particular aspect of history? Does this event or development have any message for our times? What do I think about this or that event or practice? How does this book illustrate, clarify, or otherwise relate to specific topics that you encounter as you read the chapters in American Promise and thought about the ideas that various scholars advanced in video lessons from “Shaping America.” These questions are for purposes of illustration; you are not confined to them (I suggest you take them seriously). Be creative, descriptive, and use a lot of adjectives. As mentioned above, think analytically and critically. Your journals should contain: reactions, responses, questions, thoughts, ideas, illustrations, analysis, criticism, interpretation, and expressions of relevance. You must react to a sufficient amount of each chapter so as to convince the instructor that you not only have read the book, but that you have thought about it. A mere summary of the author’s main points is unacceptable; tell me what you think about the book and explain how it ties into the course.
A mere summary of the author’s main points is unacceptable; tell me what you think about the book and explain how it ties into the course.
below is the guidelines for each chapter book journal
Twelve Years A Slave
These are questions that your professor will have in mind as he grades your book journals.
What do you think about the story of Solomon Northup thus far? How intrigued are you thus far?
What do you think about Northup’s life as a freeman in New York?
What do you think about his work and his experiences?
What do you think about his family?
What do you think about Northup’s decision to join Brown and Hamilton on the circus?
What would you have done under the circumstances? How might you have reacted to them differently?
What do you think about his experience in Washington, D.C. and his captivity?
What do you think about his experience in the slave pen?
What do you think about Birch?
What do you think about the kinds of decisions that Birch and Brown and Hamilton have made thus far?
What do you think about the story Eliza and Emily?
What do you think about the story of Robert, another free man who was captured and sold into slavery?
What do you think about Northup’s effort to escape?
What do you think about the change of his name from Northup to Platt?
What do you think about the slave auctions?
What do you think about the parting of Randal and Eliza and Eliza’s agony upon being separated from Emily?
What do you think about William Ford?
What do you think about a Baptist preacher owning slaves?
To what extent is Ford personally responsible for slavery? Why do you think a seemingly good man could participate in a system like slavery?
Does a man like Ford have a social responsibility to challenge the customs of his own society? Why do you think he is limited in going too far in doing so?
What do you think about the relationship between Ford and Northup?
What do you think about how Northup responds to Ford?
What do you think about Northup’s relationship with Tibeats?
Why do you think the two wind up in a heated confrontation?
What do you think about Chapin’s intervention? Is he intervening out of an ethical responsibility?
What do you think about Peter Tanner?
What do you think about Peter Tanner’s use of the Bible to justify slavery?
What do you think about Northup’s confrontation with Tibeats?
What do you think about his journey through the swamps to go to Ford?
What do you think about Ford’s attitude toward the mis-treatment of slaves? Is Ford acting from an ethical stand point or do other factors influence his thinking?
What do you think about Ford’s relationship with Tibeats?
What do you think about Edwin Epps?
What do you think about is personality?
What do you think about his description of growing cotton?
What do you think about Epps’ personality?
Could you see yourself working under a man like Epps?
What do you think about his description of Patsy?
What do you think about Northup’s experience as a driver on a sugar plantation?
What do you think about his comments on the effects of slavery on whites?
What do you think music must have meant to Northup?
What do you think about his description of a sugar plantation?
What do you think Christmas must have meant to the enslaved?
What do you think about how Northup handled Armsby?
What do you think about the Lew Cheney revolt?
How does that speak to the difficulties of enslaved people revolting?
What do you think about the whipping of Patsy?
What do you think about Northup’s remarks on Epss’ son?
What do you think about Bass?
What do you think about the conversation between Bass and Epps over slavery?
What do you think about Bass’ efforts on behalf of Northup?
What do you think about the complexity involved in Northup’s liberation?
What do you think about the trial of Burch?
What do you think about the account of Northup meeting his family again?
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