IOLA LEROY,. OR. SHADOWS UPLIFTED. FRANCES E.W. HARPER. (NOTE FROM SHORT STORY AMERICA: wHILE THIS STORY IS CLOSER. TO NOVEL. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes , the SparkNotes Iola Leroy Study Guide has everything you need to ace. A list of important facts about Frances Harper’s Iola Leroy, including setting, climax, protagonists, and antagonists. full title · Iola Leroy; or, Shadows Uplifted .

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InWatkins joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and became a traveling lecturer for the group.

Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted

One of the first novels by an African-American woman, it sold well and was reviewed widely. He was a major influence on her life and work. Being such an important text, it just had to be delved into. The text remains largely concerned with the betterment of the black family, the security of black mothers, and the education of formerly enslaved people.

This novel is a great window on the era prior to the extreme racial repressions of the 20th Century, when Black people had hoped that education, hard work, and social responsibility could bring them social justice in the nation. An important landmark to be sure, but not one I’d recommend outside of that fact. She was, above all, sincere. Very clearly written as a moralistic tale, but the racial issues described are depressingly still relevant today.

This novel has all the flaws of typical nineteenth century literature overt sentimentality, didactic moralizing, too much expositionbut the story is still interesting–shortly before the Civil War, Iola Leroy, a young Southern belle, loses her father and discovers that she is black, not white.

Iola Leroy: Shadows Uplifted

There’s a problem loading this menu right now. I understand that in skillful hands it can be used to make all sorts of points, to a captive student audience, about racism, sexism, classism, and other nefarious ismsbut then so can any number of Bugs Bunny cartoons, and without the consequent trauma to the reader.


Read more Read less. About Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. It’s difficult to properly critique a book with as much social significance as Iola Leroy, but the honest truth is that Harper is much better with poetry than prose. Harper uses this form to break stereotypes, reveal and critique racism that affected the lives of black people post slavery.

Do not forestall it.

Iola Leroy; Or, Shadows Uplifted by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Harper, a popular lecturer and poet, was a leader in the suffrage and temperance movements and a shadlws member of the National Association of Colored Women. Well written novel about the traditional tragic mulatto figure. They had a daughter together in Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Feb 19, Alexandria rated it liked it. However, after her husband Fenton died inWatkins returned to her travels and lecturing.

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Lists with This Book. It has been some time since I read this book. Get to Know Us. A “must read” for all Americans interested in our shared past; our untold story. No, Marie, let them go North, learn all they can, aspire all they may. Iola is a heroine, a philanthropist, a nurse to the sick and weak of heart.

Through stories of several generations, Harper shows how different segments of society react to the notion of freedom. Inevitably, these women found themselves exposed and tragically ostracized from their society. This stirring tale of life during the Civil War and Reconstruction traces a young woman’s struggles and triumphs on the path to self-discovery. After the American Civil War, Iola and friends become activists for the black community.


Tales of Conjure and The Color Line: Even more intriguing is the novel’s moral certitude alongside a sneaky skepticism of some of its heroes.

Quicksand and Passing American Women Writers. Before the Civil War she was a public speaker and political activist in the Abolitionist Movement and helped escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad.


Iola Leroy: Shadows Uplifted by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

The daughter of a wealthy Mississippi planter, Iola Leroy led a life of comfort and privilege, never guessing at her mixed-race ancestry — until her father died and a treacherous relative sold her into slavery. The titular Iola marries someone who calls her a “tender lambs” and says she “needs protecting, loving care.

It was a good story with heartfelt characters – but they were almost caricatures of themselves, and their conversations with nothing more ila political dia It was a good book, and read in the context of the historical climate of the time, it was really interesting to see how Harper was so thoroughly engaged in the conversation around race and Reconstruction. Even then it would be a close contest. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Lengthy passages more-or-less ignore story all together, with Harper preaching at you through characters’ conversations.

One person found this helpful. The characters were well thought out. Confronted with the truth of her origins, Iola Leroy rejects the secrecy and shame inherent to a life of passing as white.

The book was written in but takes place during and immediately after the Civil War, mainly in the late s and early s.