Metal clanks against metal as the chains rub on old scars issuing in another day of toil in the heat with head-down and blood streaming as each new lash is inflicted. This is usually the picture envisioned when one thinks of slavery. While often this is an accurate depiction, there are also many other forms of slavery. The Webster’s Dictionary describes slavery as, “submission to a dominating influence.” Everyone has influences that shape who they are and what they do, but a problem arises when a person’s entire life is spent abiding under a certain, destructive influence. Often this is done willingly and a sort of addiction occurs in maintaining the hold the authority has in one’s life. It gives the person identity; all they need to do is live under the power they have created for themselves and make up the rules as they go along. Yet in doing this, they rob themselves of true freedom in knowing right from wrong and choosing the right. In fact, in this regard Fredrick Douglass is one of the freest men in his narrative. In the life story of Fredrick Douglass we not only see an African American man struggling against the oppression of slavery, but also many white masters struggling against their enslavement to reputation, power and religion.
First we see what it is to be a slave to reputation. Throughout the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass it is obvious that what others think matters a great deal to the slave holders. Although this may not make sense since they still do atrocious things to their slaves, there is a certain persona they want to convey to others. Mr. Covey was a harsh, cruel man, and everyone knew and respected him for being such. C...
... middle of paper ...
...nd his white masters as free, but that can only be true if using one definition of freedom. Although seemingly free these white men also struggle under oppression. It is not forced upon, conversely they willingly and purposefully lock on the chains of slavery which dominate their lives. They conform their lives to something that gives them a sense of meaning and identity, using their freedom to choose slavery. Meanwhile, Douglass is free to live an entirely different lifestyle. Perhaps one of the most powerful quotes in his narrative is when Douglass states that “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence (28).” He is not willfully bound under the dominion of anything; he is free to be himself and thus know real right from wrong. In this he shows his true freedom.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass Metal clanks against metal as the chains rub on old scars issuing in another day of toil in the heat with head-down and blood streaming as each new lash is inflicted. This is usually the picture envisioned when one thinks of slavery. While often this is an accurate depiction, there are also many other forms of slavery. The Webster’s Dictionary describes slavery as, “submission to a dominating influence.” Everyone has influences that shape who they are and what they do, but a problem arises when a person’s entire life is spent abiding under a certain, destructive influence.... [tags: Narrative Fredrick Douglass Slave Race Essays]
1619 words (4.6 pages)
- ... The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave is an insightful book for the people who seek knowledge as the author clear notes that, knowledge if freedom and power. The tribulations Douglass encountered were so real and make the reader identify with them, and strive to gain more knowledge to be able to defend him/herself from any injustices. Through his writing, he was able to influence many famous abolitionists. One of the main reasons why Douglass wrote this narrative was to offset the undignified and humiliating way, in which the white people viewed him, plus the other slaves.... [tags: African American social reformer, abolitionist]
868 words (2.5 pages)
- In the passage of the Narrative of Fredrick Douglass, the author masterfully conveys two complimentary tones of liberation and fear. The tones transition by the use of diction and detail. The passage is written entirely in first person, since we are witnessing the struggles of Fredrick Douglass through his eyes. Through his diction, we are able to feel the triumph that comes with freedom along with the hardships. Similarly, detail brings a picturesque view of his adversities. Since the point of view is first person, the reader is able to be a part of the Douglass’ struggles with his new freedom.... [tags: The Narrative of Fredrick Douglass]
732 words (2.1 pages)
- ... In addition, Douglas knew less about the slavery unfairness, until after finding the book The Columbian Orator, which was explaining the cases against slavery. He was angered by what he learnt about this book, and what the masters have done to the slaves. The book made him think that slavery was his fate, and there was no escape from it. He notes that, the slavery institution made them forget about their origin, and anything else that entails their past, and even when they were born. The slaves forgot everything about their families, and none knew about their family because, they were torn from them without any warning.... [tags: african-americans, mistreatment, freedom]
990 words (2.8 pages)
- In this essay I will be talking about the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and how his life was representative towards the telling about slavery. First I will talk about what the difference between urban and plantation slavery. Then I will talk about each type of slavery through events that Frederick Douglass lived through. In the end I will describe how slavery impacted race relations. Numerous people have a diverse way of thinking towards the Narrative of Fredrick Douglass, so some people may think that his description on slavery was adequate while others may think that his narrative was not fair.... [tags: Frederick Douglass]
1100 words (3.1 pages)
- The Nature of Douglass's Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass to tell his story and to help the abolitionist's cause. It provides a window into his world, which is that of a former slave and of a prominent speaker. Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1818; his exact birthday is unknown. Unlike most slaves he had a mistress, Sophia Auld, who taught him his letters when he was about 10 and that basis of knowledge allowed him to 'steal literacy' over the years.... [tags: Douglass Narrative Slave Essays]
1814 words (5.2 pages)
- An American slave by Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Introduction The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass can be referred to as a memoir and writing about the abolitionist movement of the life of a former slave, Fredrick Douglass. It is a highly regarded as the most famous piece of writing done by a former slave. Fredrick Douglass (1818-1895) was a social reformer, statesman, orator and writer in the United States. Douglass believed in the equality of every individual of different races, gender or immigrants.... [tags: Autobiography, Abolitionist, Civil Rights]
1293 words (3.7 pages)
- After reading the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave, I have received a better understanding of the life of a slave. Douglass has a way of explaining the trials and tribulations of a slave, which makes the reader, look at the situations in a different perspective. Douglass' narrative was originally oral and he eventually sat down and wrote it as story of events of that time during his life. I believe he wrote it not just to tell his story but for other abolitionists of the time to actually feel what the slaves went through.... [tags: essays research papers]
611 words (1.7 pages)
- The purpose behind Fredrick Douglass’s Narrative was to appeal to the other abolitionists who he wanted to convince that slave owners were wrong for their treatment of other human beings. His goal was to appeal to the middle-class people of that time and persuade them to get on board with the abolitionist movement. Douglass had a great writing style that was descriptive as well as convincing. He stayed away from the horrific details of the time, which helped him grasp the attention of the women who in turn would convince their husbands to help by donating money and eventually ending slavery.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
861 words (2.5 pages)
- Fredrick Douglass Fredrick Douglass vs. Gone with the Wind. That’s how I perceived the two pieces of literature, Douglass is writing a true account of what his experience has been in slavery while Gone with the Wind is a fictional production of southern life. Pardon the simile but they are like black and white. Douglass gives a graphic portrayal of his own beatings and being forced to work. The guy didn’t even know when his birthday was, at first I was like big deal, but after I thought about it and that would suck not knowing when you were brought into the world.... [tags: essays papers]
743 words (2.1 pages)