Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass Essay

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass Essay

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The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass


      In reading The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, I, like others, found myself to be deeply moved. The way in which Mr. Douglass walked me through each stage of his “career” as a slave gave me a better understanding of the African American slaves’ struggle. I realized in reading this mans story that he was a gifted individual and I pondered over where his strength came from? It is true and obvious that Mr. Frederick Douglass was an extremely gifted man, but with no mother or father to guide him, what motivated this man to accomplish his goal? For this man did indeed become free.
I believe that it was a combination of Douglass’s personal traits: his observation, faith in truth, assertion, self-education, and brawn that helped guide him in the right direction.

In my paper, I hope to present to you how Douglass used his personal traits to guide him and support himself in his crusade for freedom.

My first introduction to Douglass’s world of slavery was when he walked me through the scene of his Aunt’s whipping. In this scene his Aunt Hester is getting whipped for sneaking out in the middle of night. I did not want to think that a human being could treat another in such a worthless way but after reading I was convinced that one did. Douglass tells of how the man striped this his Aunt of her clothing, which alone is so humiliating, and whipped her of skin and dignity. In Frederick Douglass’s words, “He then told her to cross her hands, he tied them with a strong rope, and led her to a stool under a large hook in the joist, put in for the purpose. He made her get upon the stool, and tied her hands to he hook” (Douglass 259). Douglass remembered the hook put into the beam in the ceiling for the mere purpose of whipping his people. He remembered the cries of his Aunt for mercy. “ I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition. I was quite a child, but I well remember it. I never shall forget it whilst I remember anything”(258). I wondered if I were this man, would I of wanted to remember such a disturbing episode? Douglass’s long termed memory can be considered as both a gift and a curse; for to remember such acts must be disturbing and yet to remember also never lets one forget. Douglass had witnessed some unthinkable acts of cruelty, during his life span but managed...


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...less of all consequences he followed his heart and his bravery glowed through, as he took on the group. “I, Of course, kept the vow I made after the fight with Mr. Covey, and struck back again, regardless of the consequences; and while I kept from combing, I succeeded very well; for I could whip the whole of them, taking them separately” (313). He wanted to fight them like any free man would have fought a battle. They all attacked him it was another negative encounter that he hoped to bring light out of. He then did not have to go back to work there again. He gained a skill of chalking that would help him earn money and lead to his eventual escape from slavery.

It was a combination of his personal traits: observation, faith in truth, perseverance, self-education and brawn that brought him to seek, attempt, and eventually succeed in finding freedom. His momentum for freedom came from internal instinct. These traits and his exposure to both human (living with the Aulds') and inhuman environments inspired him to resist the dehumanizing character of slavery. His self-sophistication and success as a pre-eminent crusader against slavery, as a speaker and a writer is amazing to me.

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