The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass An American Slave

1710 words - 7 pages

The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass
An American Slave
Written by himself

Throughout its autobiography, Douglass narrates his life as a slave, from his birth, in 1818, in a plantation of Maryland, to his evasion in 1838, which allowed him to take refuge in the North of the United States. He quickly became there a figure eminent and respected by the abolitionist movement to which he dedicated then all his energies. At first, we shall focus on the inhuman conditions from which Douglass suffered. Then we shall redraw the road he took towards freedom. We shall finally analyze how Douglass criticizes various institutions.

The author makes us go right to the ...view middle of the document...

Slaveholders controlled not only their physical but also mental condition by using terror. The monthly and yearly allowances of food and clothes determined their standard of living[2]. The quantity of food given was often the benchmark for slaves to characterize the kindness or harshness of their master. The hunger was sometimes so intense that it became inevitable to steal food to survive. In this respect, Colonel Lloyd used the worst stratagems to prevent the slaves from stealing from his garden. The slaves were then under constant surveillance. In this respect, Edward Corey was given the nickname of “snake” due to his ability for hiding and deceiving his slaves[3]. The slightest misdemeanour was subject to the most severe of the punishments. Douglass was just a boy when he fully realized the extreme violence of his master for the first time: his aunt was whipped without any mercy. This episode shows the arbitration with which the masters took their decision of punishment. They could kill without batting an eyelid as they considered black people of being inferior. The author makes even several times the comparison between his condition and that of animals until compare children to pigs when they eat[4]. The evaluation of property when Captain Anthony died [5] gives an idea about how degraded was his position. The slaves formed a part of their wealth, so the masters were up to raped their slaves to increase their capital.

The weakness of his position fuelled increasingly his hatred regarding slavery. In his memoirs, Douglass tells his physical and intellectual emancipation, but also how, having learnt to read, he went into the road of freedom.
When Douglass at the age of seven left colonel’s plantation for Baltimore, his stay at the Aulds’ home marked a turning point[6]. He was at first surprised by the kindness with which he was treated by his new mistress Sophia. It can be explained by the fact that she was not used to have a slave. She was a crucial person in Frederick’s life as she gave him the basic tools necessary to know how to read. However, his learning was soon stopped by her husband who was aware that she was giving him real weapons to think and to aspire to freedom. His concern demonstrated his fear of Frederick being “unmanageable” and his consciousness that slaves are confined in their position because they could not access to knowledge. According to him, “a nigger should know nothing but to obey his master”. [7]The words of Mr Auld had been a revelation for Douglass who understood that learning how to read was his way of salvation. Douglass was more and more obsessed by his condition. He began to be interested in abolitionism, a word which he learnt to know by listening to conversations around him. Douglass also decided to learn how to write, what he succeeded to master after several years of patience which were marked in particular by the contribution of his white companions and a book in particular:...

Other Papers Like The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave

The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay

1105 words - 5 pages made fifty cents a day that was rightfully his. The money was taken away from him each time he would go home to his master's house. He was still a slave even though things were getting easier in his life. In my eyes Frederick Douglass is a very strong willed man. He lived a life of physical and mental abuse. To me I feel that the worst thing about slavery he went though was seeing other men having the right to freedom. It was hard for him to

Narrativ Eof the Life of Frederick Douglas

812 words - 4 pages Karie Russell Professor McDougal Essay Four 23 November 2009 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas While reading the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas I felt overwhelmed. I have read about slave pieces in high school but none that have touched me like this. He explains in detail the treatment he and his fellow slaves received and the punishments were unbearable. I do not understand how people came to treat others this way. It

Incidentsbin the Life of a Slave Girl

2271 words - 10 pages Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Assignment 1. Describe how Linda Brent (Harriet Jacobs) became fully aware of her slave status. Brent was born a slave, but she never fully knew until she reached the age of six. When Brent’s parents were alive, she was so loved and cared for by them that she never thought she would be considered a piece of property. Brent’s father was a very valuable slave because he was skillful. He had money and

Frederick Douglass In-Depth Analysis Of Slavery

1175 words - 5 pages Slavery; an Atrocity In the 18th and 19th centuries, autobiographical accounts of ones life were very commonplace. However, nothing shocked and enthralled a much-divided America more than, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. From the first page, it engrosses the reader in a world of atrocities. The text, one could go as far as to say, defines slavery in America. The book provides insight into the minds and

The Contribution Of Slave Narratives To American Identity

647 words - 3 pages and others like her are powerful examples of the influence of literature. Those who read them confronted with the real-life struggles of men and women no different than the rest of the country, except for the color of their skin. The works of authors in this genre beg their audience to reconsider and redefine what makes an American. Works Cited Jacobs, Harriet. “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc. 2003. 920-942. Print.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl- Harriet Jacobs

659 words - 3 pages When analyzing the book by Harriet Jacobs we can see that she has gone through some of the most horrible, racial, and negative times in her life. Throughout the next few minutes, you will find out how Linda explains how "Slavery is terrible for men, but it is far more terrible for women” (Jacobs 77), what she endured as a slave, and how her experiences were shaped by her gender and race. First, let’s look at how she explains that “Slavery

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano:

1101 words - 5 pages other hand, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano gives a detailed firsthand account of the feelings and thoughts of a newly enslaved person. It is a life full of uncertainty, fear, and misery. This connects to the reader and is more effective of an argument for freedom than The Autobiography because in that piece Jefferson is just writing as an angered politician compared to an enslaved man in Equiano’s work. The Interesting

The American Revolution and “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

1086 words - 5 pages Frederick Douglass’s document “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”, where he touches on the history of African Americans fighting for freedom and what the Declaration of Independence really meant to his people. Frederick Douglass was an African American social reformer, orator, writer, and statesman, who became a leader of the abolitionist movement after escaping slavery. He argues that in perspectives of slaves or freed African Americans

Journey of the African Slave

1305 words - 6 pages Journey of the African Slave A new African-American culture began to develop when the Africans came to America, the culture of the slave. All aspects of life for these imported people immediately once they were deported from their homeland. Slavery was well known in many areas of Africa, including eastern Nigeria, the Gold Coast, and western Angola during the 1600s. About ten million African slaves were kidnapped from these and

The Effect Of The Expansion Of Cotton Culture On Slave And Native American Population

496 words - 2 pages The Effect of the Expansion of Cotton Culture on Slave and Native American Population Overview: To understand the effect of the expansion of cotton culture on slave population. Intro: Cotton was a profitable crop, but was not grown on a large scale because of the slow and difficult process of removing seeds from cotton bolls in order to produce a usable fiber. Plantation owners determined slave labor was needed to operate the southern

The Life Of American Author Washington Irving

1683 words - 7 pages Washington Irving was a man of many accomplishments; he was a writer and diplomat who earned fame both at home and overseas. His writings would become the first American Literature classics which paved the way for American writers.Washington Irving was born in New York City, near present day Wall Street, on April 3, 1783. Irving was born into an overall prosperous household where he was the youngest of 11 children. Only eight of the eleven

Related Essays

Use Frederick Douglass’s Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave To Examine Identity

833 words - 4 pages Use Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave to examine identity. From its first page, The ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas’ is set up as an exploration of Identity; The main purpose of the novel being to establish the truth of Frederick Douglass’s public identity and ‘set [himself] right before the public in the United States’ (Blassingame, 1979, p. 251). In fact, the text was described by

The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

1278 words - 6 pages The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave was written by Frederick Douglass himself. He was born into slavery in Tuckahoe, Maryland in approximately 1817. He has, "…no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it" (47). He became known as an eloquent speaker for the cause of the abolitionists. Having himself been

Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

2052 words - 9 pages Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass The horrible things that slaves went from their masters and from all slavery caused slaves to be denied their rights. In the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," Douglass has the ability to show the psychological battle between the white slave holders and their black slaves, which is shown by Douglass' own intellectual struggles against his white slave holders. I will focus on how

Dreams In Song Of Solomon, Narrative Frederick Douglass, Life Of A Slave Girl, And Push

2249 words - 9 pages Dreams in Song of Solomon, Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Push   In 1776 it was stated that our country was based upon one simple truth, "That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Though stated with a poetic justice, this statement did not hold true for all U.S