Confessions of Nat Turner and Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property Analysis

PromptIn 1831, a white lawyer named Thomas R. Gray interviewed Nat Turner a man convicted of leading a violent slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in a jail cell while Turner awaited execution. Gray then published the account as The Confessions of Nat Turner. This short book is not the only record of the rebellion, but it is one of the few accounts from the perspective of one of the rebels.Over the last one hundred and eighty years, there has been much disagreement about Nat Turner s rebellion and the confession attributed to him. Some people think The Confessions of Nat Turner is a fake, written mostly by Thomas R. Gray to discredit Nat Turner and other would-be revolutionaries. Some people disagree and think that the account is a more-or-less accurate portrayal of Nat Turner s motives, beliefs, and actions. Others think there is a combination of Nat Turner s voice and Thomas Gray s voice in the document.For this short (4-5 pg.) paper, students will readthe evidence and decide how to interpret The Confessions of Nat Turner for themselves. Make sure to paraphrase evidence or use short quotes from the document to support your argument. Students must also make sure to cite passages they are using.In class on 31 October or 1 November, we will watch part of a documentary, Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property that addresses the ambiguity of the rebellion and Nat Turner s confession. Students should also draw on the film to support your argument. While we will watch most of the documentary in class, students may also find it online through the GSW library website.The general rubricI will consult for grading:
A-level work makes a logical argument that directly analyzes and shows an understanding of The Confessions of Nat Turner(document) and Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (film). It is well supported by evidence. It is well organized, edited, and (generally) free of obvious grammatical and typographical errors.
B-level work makes an argument that analyzes The Confessions of Nat Turner(document)and Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (film). It is supported by examples but shows limited interpretation of the evidence.It is organized, edited, and (generally) free of obvious grammatical and typo graphical errors.
C-level work does not make a clear argument and shows a limited understanding of the source material. It is unorganized and may appear rushed or unedited. Or, it shows merit but is considerably under the assigned length.
D-level work makes no discernible argument, is poorly supported with evidence, lacks organization, editing, and/or is considerably under the assigned length.
F-level work shows no effort to engage with the prompt or the text.

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