Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Ellen Weinauer

Committee Chair Department



Resistance literature is an established genre, dating back to the late eighteenth century, but it underwent a rhetorical revision as slavery increased within the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War. As slaves and free blacks began to rebel against their oppressed condition, they "stole" two prominent tools whites used_ to - oppress slaves: language and violence. Frederick Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom is a self-conscious revision within resistance literature that argues for national change by advocating physical violence with written language. Reading this text as an intertext with Nat Turner's "Confessions" reveals the ways in which Douglass reappropriates the "stolen" slave's voice and works to-further abolition in the antebellum era.