Fredrick Douglas

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Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass and “Malala Yousafzai, the Fighter”: Comparing the Universal Theme of Power Having a Negative Impact on Others
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass and “Malala Yousafzai, the Fighter” by Aryn Baker both share the universal theme that the desire for power robs people of good morals and causes them to take inhumane actions to oppress others. The settings of historic America and present day Pakistan along with the characterizations of slave holders and the Taliban support the theme.

In both pieces of writing, the revolutionizing settings heighten the theme. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the slave owners of historical America impose harsh treatment on the slaves for free labor. In comparison, “Malala Yousafzai, the Fighter” explores the journey of a young Pakistani girl, Malala, who fights for women’s rights for education. With the support from people all over the world, she is able to face the Taliban who are a powerful extremist group with strong connections to the Al Qaeda. They enforce a strict code of behavior on Islamic women to such an extent that it robs them of their identities. One similarity between historic America and Pakistan under Taliban rule is that the race and gender domination that exists affects people negatively. For instance, when an extensive shipbuilder hires Frederick Douglass, he sees that “white and black ship-carpenters [work] side by side, and no one seem[s] to see any impropriety in it” (Douglass 101). Soon, the white workers become discontent because they [feel] that “if free colored carpenters [are] encouraged, they [will] soon take the trade into their own hands, and poor white men [will] be thrown out of employment” (Douglass 101). In order for them to keep their jobs, the white men decide to oppress their threat. Therefore, they “[combine], and [come] upon [Douglass], armed with sticks, stones, and heavy handspikes” (Douglass...
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