Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglas Essay

Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglas Essay

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Not many are aware of the horror that slavery in the United States was. Many only have knowledge of it from analyses or textbook readings, rarely ever having read firsthand accounts. These sources also generally only focus on the atrocities of slavery, then quickly shift to its abolishment, hardy ever elaborating on the change that came about to end the institution. Frederick Douglass’ autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, allows the reader to experience slave life through the eyes of Douglass. It also allows the person reading to understand the transformation of the American attitude towards slavery that ultimately led to its abolition. The autobiography fully encompasses the tenacity that Douglass possessed, with a never dying strive for freedom.
Frederick Douglass was mulatto slave born to a white master (whom is believed to be his father), and an enslaved black woman. He was separated from his mother at a very young age as it was common to part slave children from their mothers in Maryland “before the child has reached its twelfth month” (Douglass 1). When his mother dies, he seems to be utterly emotionless and desensitized to what to a normal person, would be a devastating occurrence. His attitude is similar to that of Elie Wiesel’s reaction to his father’s death in the holocaust autobiography Night. Douglass’ telling of his early experiences form the base for the continuing theme of how slavery hardens the soul and mind into utter nothingness.
Throughout his life as a slave, Douglass encounters more cruel masters until he reaches the urban Baltimore, where he is enveloped in treatment that is heavenly compared to that of plantation life. He claims that “a city slave is almost a freeman” (Douglass 21), ...

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...s, and his progress with abolitionists. He signs off in the 1840s where he was still incredibly young. Considering the book is titled Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, one would believe that a life narrative would elaborate far beyond the early adulthood, especially when Douglass achieved great things with the abolitionists of the north. A more proper title for the autobiography would be more among the lines of “Narrative of the Young Life of Frederick Douglass”.
Nonetheless, Douglass’ autobiography is both inspiring and motivating. It incites the reader to not only lose hope, but to persevere even in the darkest of times. Through the harshest conditions imaginable, and lowest points of emotional distress, Douglass was able to pick himself up and continue to his goal to not only escape slavery, but to incite change that would eventually eliminate slavery,

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