‘The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass’ is an autobiography of Frederick Douglass, the slave who escaped and became one of renowned social reformers of his time. The book is a collection of actual experiences of the author during his time in slavery and experiences of fellow slaves. He describes brilliantly the oppressive conditions into which he was born, lived, as well as his struggles and triumphs. The author meant to make the reader comprehend life of the African Americans in slavery before the ending of slavery. He also meant to highlight the misuse of religion and to use it to control other people whom they deem inferior.
In the “narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass an American slave written by himself” Frederick reveled to audience the time he was living as a slave and the moments of brutal treats for example psychological, emotional and physical abuses. He was suffering terrible moments during his 20 years as a slave in the twentieth century. In addition, he describes in his own words the strategies he used to escape from the slave holders and to be free.
The theme of individual versus society has been featured in many pieces of literature over time. This conflict can be described as an individual’s struggle against the confines of their culture or society. The individual wrestles with either upholding society’s rules or breaking them. The conflict of the individual versus society is included in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. In his memoir, Douglass, who was a slave at the time, learned how to read and write. This was deviant from society in that period because slaves were not allowed to read and write. This conflict also appears in real life situations, such as the women’s suffrage movement or the Civil Rights Movement. Members of these movements did things that deviated from societal norms at the time. The theme of the individual versus society is presented as an individual deviating from society’s ideals.
Throughout the novel there are stories that affect the reader mainly because they feel the pain and sorrow Frederick experiences through his words rather than another author. An example of an anecdote like this is when Frederick’s Aunt Hester was whipped, which was the first act of cruelty he saw on the plantation. His words conveyed the suffering that was displayed to him, and made him “hide himself in a closet, and dared not venture out till long after the bloody transaction was over” (Douglass 5). Since it is written in first person, the readers get a glimpse of how petrified Frederick is rather than hearing the facts of the story. Another anecdote is when he describes plantation life where
Picture this going through life without the ability to read or write. Without these abilities, it is impossible for a person to be a functioning member of society. In addition, imagine that someone is purposely limiting your knowledge to keep a leash on your independence. Not only is an American slave raised without skills in literacy, he cannot be taught to read unless someone breaks the law. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the reader is given a detailed explanation of why slave masters keep their slaves ignorant and the effects such a strategy has on the slaves’ lives. In his autobiography, Douglass describes how the knowledge he obtains has substantial positive and negative effects on his psyche. He is given renewed passion and hope for freedom while struggling with the burden of enlightenment of his situation. Ultimately, however, education shapes his fate, and he achieves freedom and prominence as an advocate for abolition.
In "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass", Frederick uses his trials and tribulations to show that mental strength can overcome physical abuse while also showing us how faith is something that one must have to stay true to one’s self. “I was covered with blood. My hair was all clotted with dust and blood. I supposed that I looked like a man that had escaped from a lion’s den” (54). Fredrick Douglass once said reading and writing is the most important, most basic, and the most meaningful way to grasp an understanding of life and express yourself.
In Frederick Douglass 's first autobiography, "Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”, he provides a graphic portrayal of his childhood and disturbing experiences as a slave as well as his eventual escape to freedom. Douglass went through physical abuse, starvation, and mental fatigue during his youth, yet through unimaginable circumstances he was able to overcome everything and become a writer, newspaper editor, and most of all one of the most influential abolitionist. In telling his story, Douglass paints a realistic picture of slavery. Douglass 's narrative spells out the slaveholders ' tactics in simple terms while highlighting the moral inefficiencies and the damaging effects of slavery on both the slave and the slaveholder
In the book Narrative of The Life of Fredrick Douglass, and American Slave, we find that Fredrick went through a lot of manipulating and diminishable acts. Some are: being separated from his mother at birth, being whipped, witnessing aunt Hester being whipped as a kid, not getting enough to eat, a deprivement of clothes, and witnessing old Barney getting killed. Slave owners would do this to make slaves inferior and also have insurance that the slaves won’t run away. Despite these horrific conditions, Douglass through standing up to Mr. Covey, Learning to read and write, and earning his own money, eventually got the skill and courage to escape slavery.
In Fredrick Douglass’s a narrative, Narrative of The Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave, he narrates an account of his experiences in the dehumanizing institution of slavery. This American institution was strategically formatted to quench any resemblance of human dignity. Throughout, the narration of his life Fredrick Douglas, meticulously illustrates the methodical process that contributed to the perpetual state of slavery. In his narration Douglass, denounces the idea that slaves are inferior to their masters but rather, it’s the dehumanizing process that constructs this erroneous theory. Ultimately, the desires of his consciousness for knowledge ferociously leads him to mental and physical pursuit of his emancipation.
The narrative begins with Douglass being oblivious to the identity of his father. This theme of Frederick Douglass being young and naïve is continued throughout the beginning. The idea of slaves being young and naïve is seen in almost all slave narratives. One of the ways slave owners kept slaves captive is through keeping the slaves ignorant. It is nearly impossible for a slave to escape slavery if they cannot read and write. Slave owners knew how impossible this was so they kept them ignorant, they kept them from learning. Since ignorance is what seems to hold slaves captive, one could easily conclude that knowledge is the key to freedom. Douglass figured this out at a young age. He starts learning from Mrs. Auld but eventually ends up
Pathos: emotion/value, a way of convincing an audience of an argument by an emotional response
One of the most well-known slavery narratives was lived and written by Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was a civil rights activist who was born into slavery on a plantation in eastern Maryland in February 1818. His exact birth date is unknown, he states in his narrative, “I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.”2 His birth name was Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, which was given by his mother Harriet Bailey, who died when he was about 10 years old. At a young age, Douglass was picked to live in the home of a plantation owner Captain Anthony, whom some believe may have been his father. In his narrative that was published in 1845, sixteen years before the Civil War began, Douglass describes his life as a slave and his aspiration to become a free man. He describes the painful struggle to break free from the physical and mental bondage of slavery. Frederick Douglass resisted slavery by withstanding along with defying his owners. He prepared himself for life as a free man by self-improving himself through the use of education. Douglass’s experience reveals about the difficulties enslaved people would face, when and if they were granted their freedom, was that if they were not educated they were not totally “free.”
Frederick Douglass, the author and narrator of the Narrative, is a powerful speaker for the abolitionist movement. His story is about the road from slavery to freedom, and along this road he faced many challenges and had many realizations. One of the first epiphanies he had was when he realized what slavery really was. Born on a slave on Colonel Lloyd’s planation, he witnessed the worst kinds of suffering. For example, he saw his Aunt Hester get beaten on multiple occasions, by the Captain’s overseer, Mr. Plummer. (343) He was too young to be whipped himself but he recalled feeling like a participant in this abuse. Without really knowing it, still, he suffered. This moment was an introduction to him into the cruel world of slavery. Douglass was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, soon after birth and recalled only seeing his mother on the rare occasions when she could walk twelve miles after dark to lie next to him at night. When he was seven and she died, he wasn’t allowed to go to her funeral. (340) These first realizations of what he was going to encounter soon in life were significant events in his life because he got glimpses of what slavery really was.
Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." These words once said by George Washington Carver align well with the ongoing theme of education versus ignorance throughout The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass. His life can be split in two: ignorance and education, before and after, darkness and light whatever classification you choose it is irrefutable that education changed his life and there is a clear delineation, a marked difference. The period of Fredrick's life that can be filed under ignorance is the time predating his move to Baltimore. Before the move Fredrick although a child was for all intents and purposes just like all the other uneducated slaves, stuck in a oppressive cycle of ignorance. And this was the slaveholder's intent, keeping slaves ignorant perpetuated the system.
Patrick Henry once said, “give me liberty, or give me death.” In the eyes of Frederick Douglass and countless others enslaved, this took on a much deeper meaning to them. “It was doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death is we failed.”  Frederick Douglass was one of the most commonly known slaves to have existed. Slavery has been around since the 1700s, but the subject of slavery is controversial because it not only includes information written from former slaves, but information acquired from historians. The question that has with stood the test of time is, “are these encounters that have been written out, exaggerated or the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” In the early 1800’s Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland, and grew up on Colonial Edward Lloyd’s plantation. Children would be separated from their mothers before they were twelve months in age-Frederick too was separated from his mother. As a result of entering slave-hood at an early age, he did not know his birthdate (like most slaves). Frederick Douglass’s account on slavery could be seen as biased as a result of first hand experiences with being held as a slave. Although, Douglass is able to be direct our thoughts to these experiences in such a light, you feel as if you are witnessing it happen right before you. Because of Douglass’s quest for freedom, his daring attitude, and determination to learn, he shows us the way through American Slavery in his eyes. Douglass provides