“Whilst I was saddened by the thought of losing the aid of my kind mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruction which, by the merest accident, I had gained from my master. Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read. The very decided manner with which he spoke, and strove to impress his wife with the evil consequences of giving me instruction, served to convince me that he was deeply sensible of the truths he was uttering. It gave me the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence on the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read.” (Douglass, 29-30).
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
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass perfectly depicts the dreadful experience of living in slavery. From being unsure of the day he was born, to his first beating from a master, to the brutal and exhausting work, and to the joyous day he was freed. Besides describing his experience as a slave, he describes the toll slavery had on the masters and families of slaves. Frederick Douglass also includes his view of education in relation to freedom. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a good excerpt from The Classic Slave Narratives that can be considered a good historical resource due to the historical content it provides about slavery.
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.
Slavery was an embarrassing time in America’s history. In 2016, slavery has become a distant memory. It’s easy for us to admit that slavery is wrong but, in Frederick Douglass’s time no one thought that it was. Frederick Douglass went on to write books and give speeches in hope that one day all slaves would be free. In the book called “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, he attempts to shine light on the American Slave system in the 1800’s.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, more commonly known as Frederick Douglass, was born around 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland (Hagler). Douglass was one of the most influential human rights leaders and one of the most renowned abolitionists. By learning to read and write around the age of 10, Douglass was able to develop a greater understanding of the world that didn’t revolve around slavery, along with the desire to become a free man and civil rights activist (Hagler). Douglass is now well known for his famous autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, in which he recalls his many experiences in slavery and the ways he dealt with the daily suffering. In his autobiographical narrative, The Narrative of the Life
Everyone would agree that education helps develop us into who we are and what we can become. We are able to explore new ideas and concepts, which leads to more knowledge. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass is thrown into a new world of knowledge and opportunity, once he learns how to read and write. Through his knowledge, he learns more about his situation and potential. Douglass discovers that a slave was set free by persuading his master, and as a result, this information makes Douglass an avid learner. He understands that education is his only way out of slavery. Education empowers people to make good decisions and paves a future that provides opportunities. An education can open doors that were once closed.
‘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 "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 the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, written by Frederick Douglass, he tells his own personal story about what it was like to live as a slave. While living through the horrors of slavery, Douglass manages to educate himself, by teaching himself to read with the help of few. As Douglass matures, life only gets harder. However, his education brings him hope. Not only does Douglass read of abolition, giving him hope, he also learns the importance of his education. Frederick Douglass discovers that education is the key to the freedom of his people through realizing the inevitable power gap is created by ignorance.
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.
The “Narratives of the Life of Frederick Douglass” is the story of Frederick Douglass’ life from the time he was born into slavery, to the time he escaped to freedom in the north. When Douglass wrote this book, slavery was still legal in a large portion of the United States. After Douglass’ escape to freedom and his continuation of his education, he became an abolitionist through his works of literature and speeches. In “The Blessings of Slavery”, by George Fitzhugh he states that southern slaves for the most part are the freest and happiest people in the world. He also goes on to say a number of other things that basically establish that slaves live an easy and good life compared to others. Frederick Douglass’ pure story telling in the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” directly goes against any argument for slavery from Fitzhugh, by revealing the harshness of the institution of slavery and the individuals behind it. In each piece of literature both authors also unknowingly touch on topics of early American history such as free labor ideology and paternalism therefore deepening our knowledge of popular understandings during this time period. Douglass refutes Fitzhugh’s pro-slavery argument of the average slave living an ideal life, by disproving early ideas of the free labor system and paternalism through real life encounters of the physical oppression slaves faced on the day to day basis in the forms of inhumane treatment and violence, as well as the true harsh
Being a slave in the United States was not uncommon in the 19th century. There were many brutalities of being a slave including physical and spiritual abuse. Slaves were considered property and not as human beings. They were mistreated and kept illiterate. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is a autobiography written by Frederick Douglass himself that told of his experiences of being a slave in the United States. He expresses the brutality the slave owners and how he struggled with running away to become a free human being. The themes of his story include: the ignorance of slaves, the treatment of slaves as property, religion used as justification, and the victimization of female slaves.
Douglass got his passion to promote freedom for all slaves after he escaped from slavery and ultimately had an end goal to “abolish slavery in all its forms and aspects, and promote the moral and intellectual improvement of the coloured people and hasten the day of freedom to the three million of enslaved fellow countrymen”. He also wrote several autobiographies describing his experiences as a slave. One of the autobiographies in particular, ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave’ published in 1845 was a best-selling and was extremely influential for promoting the cause of abolition. The narrative shows a compelling argument to basic human rights thus making it extremely influential as the narrative clearly possesses features and linguistic skills, which for most white people, negated their common perception of black people being illiterate in the 19th century.
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