Professor Ashley Moreshead
American History 2010
November 8, 2015
Frederick Douglass Essay
The “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” is a memoir that depicts the hardships and brutalities, Fredrick himself and other slaves suffered during the time of slavery in the 1800’s. Throughout Douglass’ narrative, he describes the common casualties of growing up, and the limited information he is provided with. This is a direct connection between the ignorance of slaves and the lack of education granted. To limit the knowledge of slaves, establishes the superiority of the white man. As Douglass grows and is relocated from time to time, he soon realizes that this corrupt world in which is a norm to himself and slaves across the nation, is a lifestyle that is not to be lived. Douglass soon learns to read and write where he then links education to the idea of freedom. Throughout the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” as Frederick Douglass teaches himself to read and write, and becomes more educated on the cruelties that are happening around him, Douglass concludes that his truest shot at freedom is through the achievement of knowledge and the increased understanding of education.
Born into slavery in the year thought to be as 1818, Douglass is soon after birth separated from his mother. An elderly slave woman who is noted to be too old to work in the field then raises him. She raises infants who soon enough will be
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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.
While Slavery was against human nature and while Abolitionists believed in ending the practice of slavery, the South had their own reasons why slavery was needed in America and how basically they supported pro slavery. For instance, some arguments for slavery followed this so-called logic: “Sudden end to the slave economy would have had a profound and killing economic impact in the South where reliance on slave labor was the foundation of their economy. If all the slaves were freed, there would be widespread unemployment and chaos. And by comparison with the poor of Europe and the workers in the Northern states, that slaves were better cared for” (ushistory.org). But in a section from, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by him, Douglass describes some of the brutality that he had witnessed. “The overseer’s name was Plummer. Mr. Plummer was a miserable drunkard, a profane swearer, and a savage monster. He always went armed with a cowskin and a heavy cudgel. I have known him to cut and slash the woman’s heads so horribly, that even master would be enraged at his cruelty, and would threaten to whip him if he did not mind himself. Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder” (Douglass 44). This shows the brutality that even female slaves endured and while the Maser may have showed some sense against the cruelty that the slaves faced, it wasn’t enough to say that they too were also cruel. Just putting aside the inhumanity depicted in true
Frederick Douglass, throughout Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, uses religion to get many of his points across. In one way, religion plays a huge role in Douglass’ ability to become literate throughout the text. With the Bible and other Christian texts, Douglass is able to further his ability and the ability of others to read. This becomes important because as Douglass points out the slaveholders believe a literate slave is not a good slave. This union of literacy and religion show the importance of religion to Douglass. However, Douglass also incorporates religious details throughout the Narrative and the appendix that lend themselves to a separation between “the Christianity of this land [America] and the Christianity of Christ.” These two distinct religious views cannot coexist in Douglass’ America, and it becomes clear that in order to abolish slavery, first one must confront these two distinct roles of Christianity. So in a way, Douglass’ religion is not just an attack on the unrighteous ways of the slave-holding Christian, but it also becomes a political vessel to forward the abolitionist cause. If religion is viewed as a political vessel for Douglass, the appendix can therefore be seen as his call-to-arms against the oppressive intolerance of slavery and slaveholder religion.
In the “Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, written in the month of August 1841, demonstrates the double purpose of the work as both a personal account and a public argument. Douglass introduces the reader to his own circumstances such as grief, sorrow and emptiness in his birthplace and the fact that he does not know his own age. He then generalizes from his own experience, by explaining that almost no slaves know their true ages. He takes this detail of his experience and analyzes it but he points out that slave owners deliberately keep their slaves ignorant, and that this is a tactic whites use to gain power over slaves. This is the recurrent
In the memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a slave named Frederick Douglass wrote an autobiography to show the way slavery degraded slaves and slave masters. He was born in Tuckahoe, about twelve miles from Easton, Maryland. He was born into slavery and had no knowledge of his age. Douglass was separated from his mother after birth, never saw her, except when she would occasionally visit him at night. Douglass was transferred and sold repeatedly in the slave markets of the South. The physical abuse and physical neglect of the slaves resulted in mental fluctuation. As a result, the psychological consequences that were within these elements were more detrimental to the mental development and to the identity of the slaves.
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
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass was an autobiography published in 1845. This story is from an outspoken past slave about the injustices of slavery to African Americans. As it is an autobiography he describes his own experience and what he witnessed as a slave. Author, Frederick Douglass, uses rhetorical and literary devices to prove his point that slavery was an injustice and a cruel act to place upon anyone.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the early 19th century, spending his youth as a slave before gaining his freedom as a young adult. He learns to read and write, becoming exceptionally well read, while remaining held by the bonds of slavery, enabling him to gain intellectual freedom far earlier than he escapes to the north, when he successfully achieves physical freedom. For this reason, Douglass offers a unique perspective on the hardships of slavery. He witnesses horrifying beatings and sees the slaves treated as animals, rather than human. He also observes first hand how slavery changes slave masters for the worse. In his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass makes the case that slavery destroys the humanity of all involved. To make his
Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, Douglass begins the narrative by telling us what he does not know. “I have no accurate knowledge of my age,” he writes. He does not know his father’s
To begin with, Frederick Douglass experienced oppression not only as a slave, but through his early years and civil rights leader. Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland in February in 1818. Slave masters had affairs with their slave women, and often got them pregnant, indicating that Douglass’s father was a white man. Despite affairs with slave women, slave born children were taken from their mothers at birth. Mothers were expected to work in the fields immediately after delivery. Frederick Douglass was denied the basic knowledge that would have been received from his mother. In the quote by Douglass, “To know one’s birth date,in a sense provided one with a particularly human identity, a location in time and history. Slaveholders denied even the basic
Humans have come a long way, being able to create advanced technology, many different ways to communicate with one another, and many different ways to live, and each human in the world has a role in the world. Each human is unique and have many different traits that define one another. For example, in Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, written by Frederick Douglass himself, is an autobiography of his life growing up around slavery and his path to freedom, and also how becoming literate changed his whole perspective on the way he lived. Another example would be in Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address, where he discusses the fact that the civil war was unnecessary and also how the country should end the war and that they should help each other rebuild the nation together. A final example would be in The Minister’s Black Veil, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who writes about Mr. Hooper who wears a black veil, and the townspeople have no clue why he’s wearing it, and this scares the town and the people around him. This veil holds a heavy toll on him because it represents his sins that he needs to atone for. Although humans are naturally evil and make decisions that are based to benefit themselves, ultimately the trait of the human is to be cowardice, fearful, and optimistic, therefore we should not succumb to our greediness and instead become a better person.
The first chapter in this piece describes his early life and childhood. He describes how slaves were treated like animals “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant(Douglass 1).” Keeping the slaves from just knowing their birth date was just the tip of the ice berg of all the horrible
Learning a new language was more of a benefit even though Frederick Douglass was still a slave having a formal education set his mind free the chains that were keeping him down Douglass newly found knowledge discovered through his ability to read leads him to see himself as a slave that beforehand did not influence him ignorance is bliss because what you don't know cant hurt you .However it takes enduring to carry on in life if he never learned about his terrible
When reading through the book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, written by Frederick Douglass, the reoccurring theme is about a slave and his slave-owner. When going into research, I came to the conclusion that the book accurately describes the relationships between a slave owner and his slaves. It also accurately describes how families between slaves are treated and formed.
Life is always compared to be like a roller coaster ride, having its ups and downs. The book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is an autobiography written by Fredrick Douglass. The book is written from his perspective of being a slave who hoped to be free someday. This autobiography occurs in the years 1835 to 1845 in Boston, Massachusetts. This book shows the roller coaster ride of going from slavery to freedom. In the beginning of this book, there is a preface which is told by a white person named William Lloyd Garrison. The reason for this is because it is stating that everything in the book is true. In this autobiography Frederick Douglass’ main goal is to teach people about the evils of slavery. Two main themes shown in