Final Exam

Assignment due:
  • Section 01F (M/W), Friday, Dec. 21 by 11:00 a.m.
  • Section 002 (T/Th), Monday, Dec. 17 by 11:00 a.m.

Submit your assignment

Select one of the following three questions on which to write an essay of 800-1,200 words in which you consider how autobiographies function as historical sources. Keep in mind that you must use all three autobiographies (by Beals, Douglass, and Franklin) in your essay.

  1. In Interpreting the Self, Diane Bjorklund argued that most American autobiographers have focused their efforts on promoting three qualities: “modesty, honesty, and a life that has been interesting” (22–23). In what ways have the autobiographies we read in this course reflected (or not) those values?
  2. The autobiographies in this course varied widely in the audiences for which their authors intended them. How did the intended audience influence how the autobiographers constructed the narratives of their lives?
  3. In each of the autobiographies for the course, the author pointed to his or her education as a central feature of his or her intellectual development. Compare their accounts and assess the role of education in telling one’s own life story.


  • The paper should be 800-1,200 words (excluding footnotes).
  • You must use as evidence: Warriors Don’t CryNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
  • You must make reference to the Bjorklund reading.
  • You must also use at least three other sources from the course readings and lectures.
  • You should use any other readings from the syllabus and references to lecture notes as they relate to your argument.
  • You must cite all evidence, including both readings and lecture notes, in Chicago style.
  • You may not use any outside sources for reference or evidence.
  • As with other assignments, you must complete this work on your own so that it reflects your thinking and effort. You may ask someone to proofread your paper.

Appointment times are available via Starfish. I will not read full drafts of your essay, but I would be happy to comment on a thesis statement and a one-page outline if you send it to me by 9pm the night before your meeting time.