Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass is a renowned slave writer known for his skill, despite no education other than what he learned through his struggles as a slave. All of his nightmares about living as a slave are compressed into his autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Only after he was free did Frederick Douglass write his book, primarily to inform the uninformed and convince the stubborn about the violence and dangers of slavery and how slaves struggle from physical and mental oppression every day. Using bold diction, Frederick Douglas plays with the readers’ emotions about the atrocities of slavery by reflecting his memories as a slave and how his success from an illiterate person to a famous slave writer led him to freedom. Frederick Douglass grew up during a time where slavery was very prominent in the South. As a young boy, he scrutinizes his early master, who Douglass thinks was his biological father. Through his description of seeing his mother, Harriet Bailey, it brings sadness to any reader who has the misfortune of reading this eloquent excerpt: “Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of her death with much the same motions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger.” Frederick Douglass had not seen his mother more than six times. Having no maternal connection is heartbreaking to someone who has already experienced that connection. We feel sorry for Douglass because of the loneliness he must endure without a mother. Previously informing us about how his mother died while doing work on his master’s farm makes us feel animosity towards slavery without even reading past the first chapter. This is evidence of how Frederick Douglass already has us on his side by making us commiserate his deprived youth. The way he ties in phrases like “never having enjoyed” or “should have probably felt” really captures his emotions, almost as if we are feeling...
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