Frederick Douglas

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Frederick Douglass Pages: 4 (1480 words) Published: September 7, 2010
The narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass shows his experiences and views of certain realizations of the institution of slavery and his own condition during his time in its confines. In this writing he explores many conditions related to the salve life, I will start with the identity of slaves or more a lack of their identity. I think he makes some strong arguments as to the identity lose of slaves. He starts by letting us know that he has no idea how old he is because he had never saw any record of his birth. None of the slaves knew their ages, “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their age as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant” (Douglass 1). Slaves were kept "ignorant" as to the facts of the real world, in most cases not even knowing the year of their birth, preventing the knowledge of a captive's true age. Douglass here identifies himself as a human being lacking what we may consider a normal childhood simply through the use of dates. We identify ourselves by the dates which surround the events of our lives. Part of our identity is formed from dates and this was a privilege he was denied. He is, however, provided with a general idea as to how old he truly is, “I come to this from hearing my master say, sometime during 1835, I was about seventeen years old" (Douglass 1). A birthday is something with which people can identify, as they are a celebrated part of our culture, especially to youth, therefore keeping dates from the slaves in my opinion was a way to keep them in the light of ignorance. Another factor to consider in the identity crisis of slaves is the status of their parentage. Douglass somewhat knew his mother, her name was Harriet Bailey, although it is true that he knew his mother, they were separated while he was an infant and thereafter only met a total of four or five times. He was not even permitted to be with her during her...
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