The Narrative Of Frederick Douglass

890 Words4 Pages
Slave narratives were one of the first forms of African- American literature. The narratives were written with the intent to inform those who weren’t aware of the hardships of slavery about how badly slaves were being treated. The people who wrote these narratives experienced slavery first hand, and wanted to elicit the help of abolitionists to bring an end to it. Most slave narratives were not widely publicized and often got overlooked as the years went by; however, some were highly regarded and paved the way for many writers of African descent today. Two slave narratives that are noticed today are “ The Narrative Of Frederick Douglass” written by Douglass himself, and “ The Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl” written by Harriet Jacobs. Both of these works contain the authors own personal accounts of slavery and how they were successfully able to escape. Although their stories end with both Douglass and Jacobs being freed, they share a similar narrative of the horrifying experience of a slave. Frederick Douglass’s narrative unveils a large number of ways in which African Americans suffered under the oppression of slavery. For instance, many slaves including Douglass himself, did not know their own birthdays or much of their own family history. This was most likely the result of slave children being separated from their actual blood relatives either at birth or due to being sold to different slave owners. The slaves were only rationed a small amount of food that they had to try and preserve. In addition to preserving food, the slaves had to learn how to preserve their clothing. Douglass mentions how each year, the adult slaves were only given two shirts, one pair of pants , one pair of... ... middle of paper ... ...ence whose attention they were trying to seek. In my own opinion, I believe Frederick Douglass’s intention was to target educated men in the north, specifically white educated men. Douglass’s use of literary devices to depict his experiences of a slave, and his extensive vocabulary would have most likely not have been easily understood by the average man. Douglass most likely wanted to enlist the help of educated white northerners to end slavery in the south. In a twist, Harriet Jacobs was writing mainly for an audience of the women in the north. Her narrative didn’t just tell the struggles of being a slave, it also talks about the struggles of being a woman. Jacob’ s story of being a unvalued, sexually abused woman, whose main concern is the safety and freedom of her children, definitely was relevant to all women who at the time were not seen as equal to men.

More about The Narrative Of Frederick Douglass

Open Document