Frederick Douglass Essays

505 Words 3 Pages
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is an account of Frederick Douglass’ life written in a very detached and objective tone. You might find this tone normal for a historical account of the events of someone’s life if not for the fact that the narrative was written by Frederick Douglass himself. In light of the fact that Douglass wrote his autobiography as a treatise in support of the abolishment of slavery, the removed tone was an effective tone. It gave force to his argument that slavery should be done away with.

     Considering the fact that this was written during the height of the abolition movement the novel had to be effective in order to advance the success of the movement.
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Here Douglass shows that slavery was not a constant source of pain and suffering: “I was not old enough to work in the fields, and there being little else than field work to do, I had a great deal of leisure time,” (Douglass 71.) This is effective in proving his point because it allows him to show the true horrors of slavery and not be lopsided in his views.

Weber 2
     Having an objective also paved the way for Douglass to show the most gruesome and torrid tales of slave life. Here is where the autobiographical form of the exposition comes in hand, enabling him to go into the closest of detail of his own experiences as a slave: “I had been at my new home but one week before Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger,” (Douglass 101.) Notice how all he does is detail the incident. He doesn’t speak of how this made him feel or what he wanted to do in response. This neutrality removes him from the picture and lets the sequence of events speak as loudly as they do for themselves.

Granted the tone changes throughout the book but the overwhelming and most effective tone was that of objectivity. Showing both sides gives him the opportunity to say that his work was not partial to abolishment. The in depth description of the whipping was compelling while the notation of a fair amount of leisure time as
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