Struggle for Independence in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “An American Slave”

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In the early 1800’s, the United States’ culture of slavery was fostered for a lifespan of forcible enslavement. For all Slaves, this was the normality which was callously endured. In his work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “An American Slave,” Frederick Douglass argues and exemplifies that his fate was destined outside of the walls of slavery.
In Douglass’ book, he narrates his earliest accounts of being a slave. At a young age, he acknowledges that it was a masters’ prerequisite to “keep their slaves thus ignorant”, reporting he had no true account of his age, and was groomed to believe, “a want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood” (25). This mindset was inbreeded in
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As a slave, to inherit this life of servitude, Douglass opposes this vision for his future.
In the beginning of chapter five, he observes, “Master Daniel was of some advantage to me” (46), demonstrating a fondness towards Douglass, for instance, “he would not allow the older boys to impose upon me”, and “divide his cakes with me” (46). He describes his Master’s actions of being “quite attached to me” and “a sort of protector of me” (46). He acknowledges that being treated differently, Douglass views his own slave status distinctive from other slaves. At a young age, he sees the possibility for slave owners to have humanity for their slaves, but deems himself chosen to only experience this amongst his peers.
Through the chapter, Douglass finds out he is going to Baltimore to serve Mr. Hugh and his family. This news elates him, foreseen subconsciously, he expresses as “the highest hopes of future happiness” (48). In referring to this proverb, “being hanged in England is preferable to dying a natural death in Ireland”, (48) he establishes the mentality to die fighting for freedom then remain in slavery. He later states, this “laid the foundation” (49) for his path to freedom and “opened the gateway” (49) for all things possible. In sum, he continues to argue that his predetermined path for slavery would not be his future, for moving to Baltimore, begins the process for his independence.

At the end of chapter five, Douglass
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