- Account for why and when the author decided to do the work and what he encountered while doing the research. What are your thoughts about the historian's work?
Stephen Oates is specifically noted for his craftsmanship as he tries to redefine the way history and its events are penned down into writing. Practically, in the book The Fires of Jubilee, Oates tries to take note of the fact that the hero of the event that occurred, in the being of Nat Turner, would particularly get the spotlight he deserves. The author of the book knew what needed to be done due to the unpopular reception of the public in relation to the heroism of Nat Turner as part of the American history.
There were several elements of separation that Oates’ work on Nat Turner’s biography had from others. These elements include personal concern on how the past of Turner related to how he developed a sense of responsibility to his people as they struggle for freedom from slavery. Oates did provide a distinct foundation on how freedom took root in Turner’s heart even as a child. Another element touched by Oates is the culture of the people and how such culture has shaped the belief over Nat Turner being one of a kind and especially different from his peers. The drawing of the basis of such culture has allowed Oates to dig deeper into the personal sense of the account, as if convincing readers about the position of the people and the desire of Nat Turner that has grown into something more than just a dream (113), but a real source of motivation for him to make a change in his community.
In a way, Oates made sure that he took his readers into the different stages of the development that heroes take into account. This includes the consideration over the different experiences that Nat Turner took into account especially as he was growing older. Seeing through the eyes of a young person, Oates tried to bring his readers into the shoes of the character he was describing in the biography. As he introduces the different stages of development that makes the situation of Nat Turner complex enough to awaken his desire to make a change in his life and that of his people, Oates intends to help the readers realize the dilemma of the individual he is introducing them to (138).
- Who was Garrison and how did he figure in this account? What are your thoughts about his work and how the South perceived him and others like him?
Garrison, as described by Oates, was someone who wanted to establish the essence of rebellion among the members of the slave community as a columnist. However, his works have not been well received. His idealisms, although good and concrete, were not able to reach out to the minds and the notice of the people he was actually addressing his call to. Relatively though, Nat Turner’s emergence as the new hero for the slave-class gave better and more concrete value to the works of Garrison.
Oates included Garrison into his write-up about Nat Turner because he believed that his presence played a great role in determining the real value of rebellion especially seen through the eyes of a social critique, who for the time, was kept in limit to what he could say and what he could share to the public. At some point, Oates viewed him as the silent voice that was given power by Nat Turner (144).
Oates felt that the role of Garrison in Turner’s life and works do provide a concrete foundation that assumes the developmental option of making a more distinctive concept of supportive operation between a columnist and a slave-hero. Although the connection between how each other motivate the work that each of them are completing for the sake of freedom, it could not be denied that they were indirectly working hand-in-hand to determine the place of rebellion in the concept of creating a more clarified vision on how collaborative work does the trick in making a successful move against oppression. This part of the history of Nat Turner did indicate that people who may not have the physical power to implicate change may infuse the willingness of those who has the capacity to act, thus creating a more reflective process of operating and mandating a better course of advancement as unified unit that is able to grow into something more powerful that is sure to bring down the ideal system of oppression that is used against the weak and the vulnerable members of the society.
- What were the local, regional, and national consequences of the Rebellion?
The rebellion spurred out the willingness of the people to face trial, and the willingness of each individual to face death in the hope of attaining a better life for themselves and for their children. The slaves were then treated as properties, individuals who do not have the choice to live a life that would satisfy their craving for self-worth. True, there were ‘lords’ who treated their slaves well, nevertheless, they are still slaves and are considered to be of a lower range of importance compared to the members of the white American society.
Elitism enveloped the American society in the past, and somehow, it could not be denied that it is because of this fact that the trials of living among the slaves have become a common feature of the American society during those dark years in history. Developing a desire to be free, the slaves were kept under the light of possibly gaining their chance into realizing their dream to be free from the limitations and the policies from their lords (155). Nat Turner’s emergence as supposedly the fearless one has inspired many slaves from different parts of the country to take their option and embrace the possibility of actually reaching out to the freedom that they have naturally dreamed of. What makes such option radical and determinable at the same time identifies well with the hope of creating a new reality for the slaves, something that could give them a chance to live a life that is satisfying and practically preemptive of the possibility of giving them the real chance at a good life.
Locally, people surrounding Nat Turner were empowered to work their way and find options to attack the ‘lords’ as if sending out a message of infusive power (159). Regionally, the movement headed by Turner mandated a better course of indication on how slavery is seen and observed in other neighboring areas from Tuner’s standpoint. Nationally, the movement could be considered massive, especially that it engages with the columnists, social critics and other experts who wanted to support the movement, thus freeing the American society from the bondage of the supposed dark ages of the nation.
The controversies of slavery was a common matter during the time before Nat Turner took the chance to go against the social norms. The brave disposition of Nat Turner, especially in relation to how he wanted so much to free himself and his people of the supposed bondage of slavery, has inspired many others to take the same stand. With a unified idealism towards freedom, these individuals came together and attacked the oppressors. The administrators of the nation on the other hand knew that they had to make something out of what was happening. Are they going to consider it to be but a small form of rebellion or should they hear the shout of the people? This question loomed over the heads of the administrators, which finally made it easier for them to make a decision to abolish slavery later after the exact point of rebellion that Turner took into account during his time.
Oates, S. (2004). Fires of Jubilee- Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion. Harper Perennial Publishing.