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Douglass and Manzano give two compelling accounts. They tell their own individual tales of slavery. However, the two differ in the journey. To me, Douglass’ narrative is more readable because it is written as more of a novel (a real page turner.) It is because of this form, his Douglass’ skill as a writer, that his narrative comes off more personal that Manzano’s autobiography. From the beginning Douglass needs to really work as a slave and does so to find a way out of slavery. Douglass realizes, or rather learns, that in order to achieve freedom the path he needs to take is the literacy. Manzano was placed on a path leading to slavery whereas Douglass found a way out of it. Therefore, Douglass’ narrative is far more hopeful that Manzano’s.
Manzano, in his autobiography, begins happy and privelaged. His life is blessed with kind, generous people. Manzano is also privelaged in that he is able to read and write; this is education that slaves were never given. However, Manzano’s life becomes a downward spiral with the death of his mistress.
Manzano excludes events, even whole years, while recounting his tale of slavery. By doing so, his autobiography takes on a lecture type feel. I felt as though I was being talked at instead of being talked to. His writing was ironically impersonal for an autobiography.
The titles of these two slavery accounts also reflect the two separate pathways of their authors. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave”: Douglass uses an appositive to define who he is. This shows his graduation to freedom and further education. Mazano’s concise simple title, “The Autobiography of a Slave,” suggests that he realized how harsh the world of slavery really was.

I found Simon Bolivar’s letter very inspiring. He is a very passionate man who did not hesitate to “tell it like it is”. Bolivar christens Spain as the wicked step-mother. Maintaining this analogy throughout the entire letter, Bolivar tells the Cinderella story that the Spanish American are living. The Spanish Americans have been victimized by their mother country which has done nothing but take full advantage of the colonists. Bolivar points out in the very beginning of the letter that the Spanish Americans have inherited knowledge, religion, interest in commerce, and knowledge. He goes on to point out that this inheritance has been somewhat spoiled because of time spent in the New World. Through the generations there has been a gradual realization that the mother country has lost its maternal quality and instead adapted the characteristics of a distant relative. Bolivar even is so bold as to refer to Spain as the “Peninsula.” No longer does Spain genuinely care about he people. Instead she has shifted her focus onto controlling the government to make sure the people of Spanish America to not rebel against the monarchy. The once tight bond shared by Spain and Spanish America has been broken. Spain had reduced the Spanish Americans to “permanent infancy”. This is not how children should be treated. And just as Cinderella was forced to manual labor, the Spanish Americans were forced to work the land and sacrifice the tradable resources to Spanish trade dealing because there was to be no free trade. Bolivar’s ability to translate the pain of the Spanish American people emphasizes the sense of brotherhood that he believes in. He hopes that Spanish America and the rest of the world will learn to appreciate.

Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzman’s Letter to the Spanish Americans talks about the enslavement of the Spanish Americans. The mother country still had a firm grip on those citizens who chose to venture to the new world. Although the ancestors of the Spanish Americans respected the government of the mother country, Guzman’s letter tells how there has been a gradual realization that there should be a change of government; one in which there was more of an independence from Spanish rule. I viewed Guzman’s letter as one of advertisement for the unification of the “brothers” of the globe and one that had a “soap box speech” feel to it.
” Thus the hard-earned glory of our ancestors, is converted for us into an inheritance of infamy; and with our immense treasures, we have purchased only misery and bondage.” (pg. 69) Guzman recognizes that Spain was only interested in exploiting the resources of the New World and taking full advantage of those who called themselves of Spanish descent. I found it unfair that these New World citizens were forced to remain loyal to their mother country and serve under the rule of its monarchy. “–every where the most abominable traffic of injustice and inhumanity, on the part of blood-suckers employed by government for our oppression.”(pg. 69) What is most disturbing is that those “blood-suckers” that are “2-3 leagues away” have so much control of something they cannot possibly understand or experienced. They have an idea, a romanticized idea of what the New World should look like and requires of its inhabitants. They have no sense of work ethic due to the social hierarchy implemented in Spanish society.
Guzman later goes on to talk about how the New world and the rest of the world can come together to defy and challenge the current government. I found this idea bold and new considering the time. Something so grandeous as considering the population of the globe as an aide in this kind of rebellion/revolution, i believe was ahead of its time.

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