The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Essay

The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Essay

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"I am left in the hottest hell of unending slavery. O God, save me! God, deliver me! Let me be free! Is there any God? Why am I a slave?” (Douglass 265). This miserable plea for freedom is from the powerful Narrative entitled, The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. In this descriptive story, he shares with the reader the viewpoint of a mixed-race American born man, raised parentless as a slave worker. Douglass’s mother was separated from him at a young age and his father was rumored to be their master, which is not out of the question, as many masters impregnated their female slaves. Douglass grew up not knowing his real age, with very little clothing and no bed to sleep in. In addition, the food was always rationed out between all of the slaves and the men and women worked long hours each and every day. When the slaves ever did “get out of line” they were punished by being whipped or brutally beaten. This powerful Narrative presents the evils of slavery in such a poignant way that it influenced not only the perception of slavery in Douglass 's time, but the abhorrence of this deplorable institution carries on to this day. Through his desire to become an educated man, his enduring faith in religion to see him through his difficulties, and his moving accounts of the hardships, suffering, and methods for enduring that he faced, Douglass presents strong evidence that slavery was a terrible institution that spoke not only to his readers at the time, but still has relevance today.
One of the keys to the social change that slaves were so desperate for can be found in their desire to become educated, as knowledge is power. Douglass’s first person point of view on the horrific events that took place during...


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...gnity and pain that is difficult to imagine. At the same time, they found ways to preserve their sense of themselves and their culture, which we are able to read about and admire in Douglass ' Narrative.
Clearly, even staunch proponents of slavery in Douglass ' time would not be able to read and ignore the powerful message that his Narrative shares. If one of the primary reasons for allowing slavery to continue was that slaves were in some way "less than human," and therefore not capable of the same dreams, feelings, and suffering as non-slaves, this Narrative puts that theory to rest. Douglass gives a clear and moving portrait of a person suffering the bonds of his enslavement, while at the same time dreaming of a better life. This message is as intense today as it was when it was released many years ago, and therefore should continue to be read and learned from.

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