An Analysis of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
In the autobiography Frederick Douglass presents a clear picture to me of a horrifying period of American history that far too few people understand. Douglass’s personal narrative as a slave lets you feel the fear of his past and allows us to experience the suffering and pain inflicted by underserved beatings and an unhealthy lifestyle with too much physical exertion. Douglass expresses very personal feelings about his history and helps us to understand the intense hatred and disgust the American slave had for his possessor, and the sickness of hate that allowed human beings to keep other human being as slaves. The typical American slave standard of living was worse than some of the most poverty stricken countries of today. Most slaves were not as privileged to be classified as “fat and happy.” Slave “owners,” often referred to as “masters,” simply did not have to provide adequate food and clothing because there was no enforcement of it by law or any other authority regulator. In general, consideration and generosity for slaves were at the discretion of their beholders. Within these tragic lifestyles, ties between biological family members within the slave community were very rare. Most slave children new little, if anything, about there parents. Although Douglass too had been separated from his mother he knew of her whereabouts and was able to make contact with her prior to her death relatively early in his adolescence. We see that Douglass’ persistence to keep his first name shows us he still values his heritage and family. Education was another matter that Douglass deeply valued. Douglass makes it very clear that education was “the pathway from slavery to freedom.” (p. 49) Douglass had learned this as a boy from one of his masters. Little did his master know of the significant information he had implanted into the mind of such an ambitious and courageous young man. In the South, slave education...
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