Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. By Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs (Introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah). (The Modern Library: New York. c. 2004. 434 pp. $6.95).
Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas, an American Slave is a firsthand account of the struggle of Fredrick Douglas who was born into slavery. The book hits on several main points of slavery from the brutal beatings that were inflicted upon slaves to the hypocrisy of Christian slave owners who used religious teachings as a justification for the treatment of their slaves. Douglas immediately immerses the reader in the atrocities of being a slave. The feel is very "matter of fact" but leaves the reader feeling compelled to be irate.
Douglas is almost able to actually bring the reader into the life of a slave. The imagery that is used is so vivid that you can actually see the book play out in your mind. The ascription of meaning to the slave songs that Douglas heard in the pine woods is eye opening and the quote "The mere reoccurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; And while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery (pg 28) ". The power of that quote alone is enough to open the heart and mind to the pain of the African American slave.
The scope of this narrative is across the life of Fredrick Douglas, from his childhood as a slave to his role as an speaker on behalf of abolition in which he drew the courage to speak out even in front of his white counterparts. The purpose of the narrative is to inform the reader of the circumstances that the slaves had to deal with on a day to day basis and also as a public argument against slavery. I feel that he book is an exceptional piece of literature that by all standards envelops the reader into the world of a slave in...
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