One of the key arguments in “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” as well as in other narratives about slaves is inequality. Douglass attempts to show us how African American slaves were still human beings like their white counterparts, there have been numerous instances where it is shown that many whites did not want to accept slaves as true humans. Frederick Douglass also perceived racial inequalities at a very young age and notes “I do not remember ever met a slave who could tell his or her birthday. They seldom come nearer to it than planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall-time. A want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood. The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege” (13). Douglass also takes the argument of inequality one step further by making remarks upon the difference between the white and black children. Instead of accepting the difference that he is aware of even the minor details of inequalities. These descriptions of inequality are stated in the first half of the book and help us as readers realize the true “worth” of a slave. Frederick Douglass states “We were all ranked together at the valuation. Men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep and swine. There w...
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...y afraid at first but finds out that there are many ex-slaves willing to take a stand and risk their lives to help their own. Douglass realizes that with the help from the ex-slaves he could also help his fellow slaves.
In sum, all of these key arguments exist in “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” because of the institution of slavery and its resulting lack of freedom that was used to defend it. This text’s arguments could all be gathered together under the common element of inequality and how it affected the practical, social, and even spiritual lives of the slaves.
Douglass, Frederick. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave: Written by Himself (ed. John Blassingame) Yale University Press, 2001.
Analysis of “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”: Written by Aaron Wright and Nichole Smith
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