|Wolf by the Ears Report Topics
1. Jefferson's slaves were well treated, but this was not the case on other plantations. Write a paper about the life of a plantation slave in the early nineteenth century. Compare and contrast this life with that of Harriet Hemings.
2. Modern journalism and literature often try to show the weaknesses of famous people, rather than treating them as heroes. What do you think underlies this trend? Is it fair... Research another famous person (present or historical) who has been vilified by literature or journalism. Compare and contrast their life with that of Jefferson portrayed through Wolf by the Ears.
3. Why does Thomas Jefferson give Harriet a diary and ask her to record the events of nature? What does this tell us about his own interests? Are there any other details that Harriet describes about his study which show him as a man of many talents? Research to find out about some of his other accomplishments and inventions. Compare and contrast your research with what is portrayed in the novel.
4. The issue of slavery is a topic that still evokes strong emotions. Rinaldi has purposely stressed the evils of an institution that has darkened much of American history. To do so, she uses words like "nigra," a term common in Jefferson's time. But the language is essential in order to show the reader contemporary attitudes, that may appear offensive today. Write a paper about culture of slavery and/or racism since the early 1800s. Compare and contrast this progression with that portrayed by Harriet and her two brothers Bev and Tom.