Narrative of Fredrick Douglass

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The greatest thing about reading Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass is that there are many different and interesting themes to learn from. Throughout Douglass’ story he teaches us many lessons and motifs, but one thing that stays constant is his belief in the fact that all men and women should be created equal, with equal rights without any constraints to his or her own individual freedom. The treatment of Douglass himself and the other slaves he worked with was unbearable and under such horrible circumstances that after reading his autobiography; it really makes me wonder what other types of things other slaves had to endure during their experiences. Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass shows its readers that even though times can get extremely hard, there will still always be hope even when you think there is none.

One of the most important ways slaves were kept in bondage was not simply the threat of physical brutality; rather, it was through deep and sustained ignorance. Slaves were not allowed to read and write and were therefore generally not aware of the events outside of the plantation, could not communicate with each other well to provoke rebellion or conduct escape plans, and could not reach the sense of self-sufficiency and pride that came from being educated. Literacy brought with it an understanding of the larger world. It opened up before a slave the idea of justice and an understanding of history. Reading the Bible led to a truer comprehension of Christianity. Douglass was able to first engage with abolitionism when he attained literacy. He also became fully aware of the reality of slavery; he wrote "[Literacy] had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity" (Page 56). Ignorance was thus a way for slaveholders to keep their slaves manageable, happy, calm,...
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