Struggle for Independence in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “An American Slave”

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In the early 1800’s, the United States’ culture of slavery was fostered for a lifespan of forcible enslavement. For all Slaves, this was the normality which was callously endured. In his work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “An American Slave,” Frederick Douglass argues and exemplifies that his fate was destined outside of the walls of slavery.

In Douglass’ book, he narrates his earliest accounts of being a slave. At a young age, he acknowledges that it was a masters’ prerequisite to “keep their slaves thus ignorant”, reporting he had no true account of his age, and was groomed to believe, “a want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood” (25). This mindset was inbreeded in slaves to use ignorance as control and power. As a child, Douglass is separated from his mother. Thus, he comprehends this is implemented in slavery to disengage any mental, physical, and emotional bond within families and to benefit slave owners concern of uprooting slaves for trade. He illustrates the “norm” action and response of a slave to the master. To describe the typical dialogue, he states, “To all these complaints, no matter how unjust, the slave must answer never a word”, and in response “a slave must stand, listen, and tremble” (38). In the course of his narrative, he describes several excruciating acts of abuse on slaves. His first memory of this exploitation, the lashing of his Aunt Hester, he depicts as, “the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery” (29). Also, he gives accounts of owners’ self-deception tactics, injustices, and in effect, shaping characteristics of prejudice, jealousy, and dishonesty of slaves towards slaves. Likewise, connecting to the reader, slave...

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...w unjust, the slave must answer never a word.”(38)

B. “…a slave must stand, listen, and tremble…” (38).

4. Chapter IV

5. Chapter V

A. “...Master Daniel was of some advantage to me…” (46).

B. “…he would not allow the older boys to impose upon me…” (46).

C. “…divide his cakes with me…” (46).

D. “…quite attached to me…a sort of protector of me…” (46).

E. “…the highest hopes of future happiness…” (48).

F. “…being hanged in England is preferable to dying a natural death in Ireland…” (48).

G. “…laid the foundation…opened the gateway…” (49).

H. “…a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor…” (50).

I. “…chosen from among them all, the first, last, and only choice…” (49).

J. “…From my earliest recollection, “I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace…” (50).