Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Complete Title: An Exploration of the Relationship between Southern Christianity and Slaveholding as seen in the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Written by Himself”

Dr. Pautreaux’s comments: What makes this paper memorable is the fact that this student is also a minister. Both his command of the language and his insight as a minister gave this paper a unique view of the narrative.

We can so easily deceive ourselves into believing that what is accepted by the general population as normal behavior is also justifiably correct. Rarely do we, as a society, question our customs as long as this behavior yields such commodities as convenience, profit or social benefit. If contested, our acts become well justified and defended. All components of our lifestyle are purposefully bent to fit around popular beliefs and anything, up to and including the Holy Bible, can be distorted to advance our position. A current example of this is today's Muslim terrorists who are using teachings in their Koran to justify their position saying that the Koran dictates that they must fight a holy war, killing as many Christians and Jews as possible, even going so far as to sacrifice their own lives in the process. This sort of religious distortion, used to justify man's self-serving will, is what writer and former slave, Frederick Douglass exposes in his story of his life which he wrote in 1845.

In his story, Douglass gives us a wealth of obvious incongruities of people professing Christianity while practicing slavery: "The man who robbed me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of ...

... middle of paper ... of the Christian religion itself, perhaps the present religious conflict could be resolved. We, too, have the obligation to remember that the strain of Islam that has come to fore in these days of terrorist attacks, is but an extremist fanatical derivation or a religion that also has a pure and good basis. We should all make sure that religion is not a "mere covering for the most horrid crimes--a justifying of the most appalling which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds...find the strongest protection" (1059) as it was in the days of slavery in the southern U. S. and in the life of Frederick Douglass.

Work Cited

Douglass, Frederick. '"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave." The Harper Single Volume American Literature. Ed. Donald McQuade, 3rd edition. New York: Longman, 1999. 1020-1081.
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