Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Essay

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

The tone established in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is unusual in that from the beginning to the end the focus has been shifted. In the beginning of the narrative Douglass seems to fulfill every stereotypical slavery theme. He is a young black slave who at first cannot read and is very naïve in understanding his situation. As a child put into slavery Douglass does not have the knowledge to know about his surroundings and the world outside of slavery. In Douglass’ narrative the tone is first set as that of an observer, however finishing with his own personal accounts.

When first introduced to Douglass and his story, we find him to be a young slave boy filled
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Instead of creating a tone that centers on the lives of slaves around him, Douglass grabs the reader’s attention by shifting the tone to more personal accounts.

By centering on his own personal story, Douglass is able to capture the attention of his audience. With a more detailed description of events taking place, the reader is trapped into that time period, being able to live out the experience with Douglass. Frederick Douglass’ quest for freedom almost becomes a quest for the reader as well. The tone set during this section of the narrative shows Douglass to be much more in charge than he was as a child. A confident slave, Douglass anticipates his freedom, yet also creating a freedom for himself while still enslaved.

It is at this time that Frederick Douglass learns one of the greatest freedoms of all. He is set free, in an educational sense. Douglass has been taught a few reading lessons form his mistress. Soon after his master discovers this, and commences the teaching at once. Soon thereafter, Frederick Douglass uses some smart tactics to resume his learning. He in a sense manipulates the children around him into teaching him how to read and write. This grand achievement taught Douglass something, as he says, “From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom. It was just what I wanted, and
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