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From Harriet Tubman (Tiny- literary Analysis)

Updated on January 31, 2011


1- About the author: Ann Lane was born as the youngest of three daughters in Old Saybrook Connecticut 1908. Her parents, Peter Clark Lane and Bertha James belonged to the black minority of a small town. Her mother owned a petite shop and her father was a pharmacist. Ann Lane’s new desire to become a professional writer began when her high school English teacher read her essay to her class commenting on it with the words, “I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted.”

She became a pharmacist following a family tradition and graduated with a Ph.G degree in the New Haven in 1931 and worked as a pharmacist. Later on, she stated writing short stories. On February 22, 1938 she married George D. Petry and started writing articles for newspapers. Petry died in her own hometown in Saybrook.

2- Summary:Harriet Tubman, a black woman born into slavery believed that all men should be free. Tubman, also known to the slaves as “Moses” makes her way from one place to another searching for shelter and food. She is determined to save those slaves and take them to Canada where all slaves are free. Her journey begins in the plantation, when she takes a group of eleven slaves, and finally arrives to Canada. Tubman discovers the true meaning of freedom andcontinues to free the slaves for a long time.

3- Setting:

The setting in the story is a very vital element. The biography takes place in the Eastern Shore of Maryland in Dorchester country in 1820. The time frame in which the events take place is crucial, because slaves were treated badly in that period and had no rights to begin with. Harriet decides to free a huge group of slaves and take them to Canada. The events take place in many different states of the United states, the difference in the setting is due to the fact that Harriet and the slaves are on the run. And if they get caught, Harriet by be hanged. And so Harriet knows that they have to keep moving in order to hide their trail. When she finally arrives to Canada, the reader can sense a huge difference in the life style . In Canada slaves were considered free men and had the right to live, work , and vote.

Literary Elements:

1- Plot:

1- Exposition:

- Harriet Tubman has decided to free a group of eleven slaves by taking them to Canada. Ann introduces Harriet in this part of the story from the point of view of the owners of the slaves. Petry shows the owner thought they heard something unusual, but found no one. Harriet’s brightness in unique.

2- Rising events:

- Harriet escapes the plantation with eleven slaves.

- She makes her way with them into the forest.

- The masters offer an 11,000 prize for whomever catches them.

- The slaves are on constant move .In this section, we can view the hardship the slaves had to go through in order to gain their freedom. They had to walk for long distances without food for numerous days. And whenever one of the slaves would feel down or too tired Harriet would tell them about her friends who would give them food and shelter just because they believe in her cause. Harriet keeps the hopes of the slaves high and tells them about the true meaning of freedom. Though they are at constant move, Harriet’s companions learn to trust her with their lives.

3- Climax:

- One of the slaves decides to go back to the plantation due to extreme fatigue.

4- Falling Events:

- Harriet articulates that there is no turning back and threatens to shoot him.

- The slaves learn to trust Harriet by time with their lives.

- The slaves reach to the Canadian border with the help of many of Harriet’s friends.

5- Resolution:

- Harriet and her friends are free for once. She on the other hand remains truthful to her cause by freeing more and more slaves.

2- Conflict:There is no doubt that the conflict in our story is external. For example, Harriet believes that all men are free regardless to their skin color. She decided to take a group of slaves and lead them away from the life of misery into the land of freedom (Canada). By doing so, she faces the death penalty. “The eleven runaways would be whipped and sold south but she− she would probably be hanged!” Harriet stands against her society’s twisted values and beliefs. Back then, blacks we considered slaves and were treated dreadfully. Harriet is not only facing the owners or masters, in fact, she is up against the dominating white society. Fortunately, she is able to save those slaves and lead them into the freedom. “ Freedom meant more than the right to change jobs at will, more than the right to keep the money that one earned.” And by doing so, Harriet discovered the true meaning of freedom.

3- Characters:

a) Harriet Tubman:A black woman who was born in slavery. She deeply believes that all people are born to be free regardless to their color. And that is why she leads a group of eleven slaves from a plantation to Canada. Her determination is remarkable. “We got to go free or die”! With those words she was able to encourage a huge group of devastated slaves to push harder in order to achieve their freedom. Harriet believes that having your will taken is no life. Whenever any of her companions would slow down or thinking of giving up, Harriet would tell him about her friends who support her cause “ She said he kept a pail of milk and a loaf of bread in the drawer of his desk so that he would have food ready at hand.”

“She gave the impression of being a short muscular indomitable woman who could never be defeated.” She is committed to her cause in a very incredible manner. Though her life is at stake, she is ready to die rather than live like that. And whenever her friends felt sick, tired and hungry, “She sang to them and heard the eleven voices blending softy with hers.”

b) Slaves:A group of eleven slaves who use to work in a plantation for their white owners, who used to abuse them.

4- Point of View: Ann uses the third person point of view omniscient to tell us Harriet’s side of the story. From this point, the reader can follow Harriet’s journey. For example, “Even on this trip, she suddenly fell asleep in the woods. The runaways ragged, dirty, hungry and cold did not steal the gun as they might have.” If the story was told using the first person point of view the readers would probably be able to relate to only one character’s thoughts and emotions.

5- Purpose:The author’s purpose is not to entertain the reader at all, for the story retells the miserable life the slaves had to live up with including the hardships that faced them when trying to escape. For example, Ann retells the story of a slave who tried to escape and was whipped to death, “They whipped him until a doctor who was standing by and watching said: You will kill him if you strike him again! His master said :Let him die!” The story gives us insight concerning the life of the blacks back then. It is pretty obvious that it wasn’t an easy one. The white people treated them badly. Blacks were considered slaves and were to be treated like animals. The story shows us the true side of this so-called humanity. Since many people have accepted the thought of slavery, some one had to stand up and lead the slaves to the land of freedom and this person was Harriet Tubman. The biography is really informative and makes the reader appreciate the freedom that he didn’t have to fight for.

6- Theme:The story illustrates the importance of freedom, and what slaves are ready to risk in order to gain their freedom. It also shows us the hardships and challenges a small group of slaves had to endure in order to achieve their goal. The theme is stated by Harriet herself “We got to go free or die!” The theme is a really important one than we as humans can relate to. It is no life if you have your life controlled by others. Harriet’s words are touching. They reaches out to the human desire that lurks with in the human soul and urges the slaves to break free.

7- Genre:Ann’s story might be considered a biography or a memoir that retells for the reader the journey that a single woman has taken in order to lead a group of people into freedom. The narrator retells every place the slaves stopped at as she was their herself. The important thing about this piece of art is that it serves like a history book that writes down the life-journey that some slaves had to take.

Comments: All I have to say is that I never imagined that some people had to struggle to gain their freedom when we are born free. The true thing that I appreciated about the story is Harriet’s extreme courage. It is admirable how her desire for freedom overpowered the fear of getting hanged. The story gave me some in sight concerning the life style back then and the suffering of our brothers.


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    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 7 years ago from Lebanon

      Leah :) i am glad i can help :D hope you enjoyed the story though

    • profile image

      Leah 7 years ago

      Thanks sooo much this helped me out a lot while i had to turn in a repport on this

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 7 years ago from Lebanon

      i can't find you on facebook? :(

    • profile image

      Arengeir 7 years ago

      I been pretty good thanks, add me on facebook again

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 7 years ago from Lebanon

      well i have no idea why but who gives a rat's ass. how have you been btw?

    • profile image

      Arengeir 7 years ago

      zdxzd is pretty rude :/

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 7 years ago from Lebanon

      ur welcome! glad i was of some help

    • profile image

      Luis 7 years ago

      Thnxx u soo much !! I got A in book report ^_^ thnx :)

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 8 years ago from Lebanon

      sure will do ! It was nice to meet you!

    • profile image

      Arengeir 8 years ago

      hey there uriel, add me on Kiish Miilo...

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 8 years ago from Lebanon

      Arengeir You are welcome..Anything to help a fellow friend of mine. I'd like to chat with you anytime my friend :D

    • profile image

      Arengeir 8 years ago

      heyyy Uriel, oh my god...thanks so much for really helped me in my literature homework...please feel free to add me on my msn, -> chat soon


    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 9 years ago from Lebanon

      and why the hell is that? racism? i dont think racism had a part in this analysis? objectivity? subjectivity? injust? well, if u have a good reason for that well be my guest. If you can't do better then the hell with it. And i think we build communication bridges so don't burn them down without any realistic reason. If you care to elaborate, then i am pretty open for such debate. If you have to opinion concerning the topic or the analysis you can just do us all a favor and not spam our hubs in such a disrespectful manner. Hoping you get this message and learn some respect and decency. If you have an objective criticism or you are capable or reasoning out as much as you are strong at lashing at people, then you are welcome. If you have something against this cause, then it is your own opinion, and i hope next time you keep this disrespectful and degrading words to yourself.

    • profile image

      zdxzd 9 years ago

      fuck u

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 9 years ago from Lebanon

      heheh...any place any time..yeh i kinda like doing such stuff just as a challenge.... I did this for my bro :S till 2 am :@ ...n Yeh u reminded me... he is so going down if he lets me do his coming report :D... Coz it always ends up with me feeling sorry ( And being such a good sis= not really) ..n i do his projects :D

      I'm calling it off :D

      thanks for stopping by :D ... You seem to be online all day ! Nice... i wish i could stay on hubpages all day long..but school hehhehe....

      tc Uriel

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      You would have done me a favor if i was back in school and needing a book report. This was nicely done and enjoyed reading, too! Thanks for sharing :D


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