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Narrative of the Life Frederick Douglass

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Narrative of the Life Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass born a slave, educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American History. His anti-slavery speeches were intelligent, brilliant, and eloquent, which made many people question if he really was a slave. To prove them wrong, Douglass decided to write his own story. Douglass wrote three autobiographies, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and Life and Time Frederick Douglass (1881). This paper will explore the quality of Douglass work from a literary standpoint. This paper will also give details of the events shaping Douglass’s life and writing career. Moreover, this paper finds Douglass a writer of great importance based on the criteria of theme, impact, and originality of subject matter. By examining “life and times” of this black author, the reader should recognize the wide spread influence of Douglass’s writing on anti-slavery, other anti-slavery writers, and politics.

Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. His mother Harriet Bailey, was a field slave for a white man believed to be his master, by the name of Aaron Anthony. Douglass was born into slavery in Tuckahoe, Maryland in approximately 1818. He has, “no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any

authentic record containing it.”

Douglass grew into his adolescence age in Baltimore, and grew too hate slavery. At this point he was able to detect the slaveholders cruelty; For example, being whipped and humiliated daily. Frederick Douglass background deserves recognition, because it served as the basis for his autobiographies. The material contained in the autobiographies represents the time in which he lived, and also his reactions and observations of the period.

Douglass was caught reading by his master, who demanded to know who taught him. And lead to Douglass being physically abused but not mentally beaten. The next few years he spent saving money for his escape in 1838. After finding several low-end jobs in the North to support himself and his new wife, Douglass was invited to speak at an abolitionist meeting. This event helped launch Douglass’s career and being along side of William Lloyd Garrison, writing and giving speeches at various churches about the evils of his slavery experience. Douglass saw the core meaning of slavery, both for individuals and for the nation. In 1855 he offered this timeless explanation of his hatred of slavery and his desire for freedom: “The thought of only being a creature of the present and the past, troubled me, and I longed to have a future, a future with hope in it. To be shut up entirely to the past and present is abhorrent to the human mind; it is to the soul whose life and happiness is unceasing progress what the prison is to the body.” This is a great example of the rich descriptions DouglaThe greatness of his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life becomes apparent when compared to the book criteria. This short novel of his early life stands out as a deserving classic. Douglass subject matter, a true first hand account of slavery, strikes the reader deeper than fictional account of slavery, oppression, and escapes, Douglass stands out as the first to write his own story. Many black writers presented their subject matter through a ghostwriter, which in my opinion looses the edge of hands-on experience. Because of the quality of the content, some abolitionists, and many slave owners, refused to believe the he truly experienced slavery. However, the autobiography came more believable with a “Preface” by Garrison, and a “letter” by Wendall Philips. Douglass’s lengthy passages about the psychological effects of slavery reflect years of thought and observation. His blunt descriptions of negativity on slaveholders created a stir against the nature and “savage barbarity” which he describes.

The mental side effect of slavery gives the reader “food for thought”. The author causes the reader to think about the true cause of the cruelty in slavery. He forces the theme upon the reader because of his vivid presentations of new ideas. After helping Douglass publish his first autobiography Wendall Philips urged the public, “to hate slavery”, but not the slave owner’s because of Douglass rich descriptions. Douglass uses examples from his own life to prove each point about slavery corruption. The sacrifices of his security in order to present the facts make him a courageous writer. Douglass not only presents the name of his slave owners, but the traits which slavery caused in them. His most important subject line lies on his evaluation of oppression’s psychological effects. The greatest element contained in Douglass’s autobiographies remains his theme about

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