Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass essay

Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass



FrederickDouglass, who was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, came tobeing in February 1818. He was an African-American social activist,adversary, speaker, author, as well as a statesman. Douglass turnedout to be a state front-runner of the abolitionist association fromMassachusetts and New York after absconding bondage in Maryland. Heattained note for his stunning speech-making as well as perceptiveantislavery pieces of literature. In that era, Douglass was labeledby abolitionists as a corporeal counter-example to slaveholders`points of view that slaves were short of the cerebral aptitude tofunction as liberated American peoples. Northerners of his era wereskeptical of the fact that a good speech maker as Douglass had oncebeen a slave.

Duringhis lifetime, Fredrick worked on numerous autobiographies. He termedhis familiarities as a man in bondage in his 1845 Memoirs, Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. It fast rose asa bestseller, as well as being significant in endorsing the groundsof abolition. On 20th February 1895, he graced a conference of theNational Council of Women with his presence. In the course of thatsummit, Fredrick was brought to the stage and received a vote ofconfidence. Before long after he returned home, he succumbed to astroke.

Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass

Thenarrator of the book is Frederick himself. He is the books maincharacter as the aim is telling us about himself. His aim in deliveryis to reach to as many people in the Republic of America as well asabroad. He is a bit older than he was when the events he is narratingabout happened. He talks about the story of his life from birth tothe time he writes the book, so it is an autobiography of himself.With this narrative, he aimed at highlighting that a state founded onfreedom would allow slavery to take place as well as, show that anAmerican slave with no formal education as himself would solitarilywrite what he did.

Hisprimary intention was to end slavery and so in the writing, hedoesn’t elaborate much on things that don’t help him in hismessage delivery. For example, he speaks about a time he got married.From following the story, it is impossible to tell the time they metor who the woman is. Marriage has little to do with slavery, so hebarely mentions it. The author is trying to relay something in hisautobiography. Foremost, through his references to himself as anAmerican slave, Fredrick is reminding his addressees that oppressiondidn`t take place in some distant land it transpired in America, the&quotland of the free.” Altogether, Douglass`s narrative wassuccessful for the reason that it wasn`t evenhandedly a piece ofpropaganda. It is correspondingly a coming-of-age tale. Fredrick atthe same time grows up to be a man and learns to be free. Douglass’spassage from childhood to later life counterparts his tussle to findthe strength and will for attaining his liberty.

Thebook is a real source of American history. The narrative begins with Douglass’s birth and childhood, but the emphasis is on the relatedeffect and the handy association of his life by way of criticalhappenings in the American past.

Hisbook is extraordinary for the opinions on slavery and slaveholdersthat Fredrick courageously presents and for that reason is not bias.To begin with, Fredrick declares his humanity in the facade of thedesensitizing tradition of slavery. He therefore sets a case in pointto other slaves to insist upon their humanity. He encourages hisreading addressees to recognize this humanity too. Douglass assertshis right to gain knowledge to build on his intellect like anyordinary white American. He stands firm on not accepting anythingshort his personal physical, spiritual, and intellectual liberty.Whenever necessary, he criticizes—frequently using satire—thosewho support oppression as well as those that have a preference for aviewed through a rose-tinted glasses account of it. Callously,Fredrick offers the person reading a first-hand version of the agony,disgrace, and viciousness of the South`s &quotpeculiar institution.”Douglass points out the vindictiveness and the improper influence ofsupremacy not only on the casualty but also on the wrongdoer—theslaveholder. He is also courageous in writing the book as he provokesthe mismanagement of Christianity. He claims the pious slaveholdersused the commonly said conviction of a &quotGod-given&quot right toown or peddle other mortal beings.

Sincehis book is not an antislavery propaganda rather a personalrevelation, it is considered the best slave narrative tradition aswell as being a classic of American autobiography. It also tells usabout the nature of the slaveholders inconsistent brutalists andhypocritical pieties. However, a few of the slaveholders areexclusive of those characters. From the narrative, one canacknowledge how hard it was for an African-American to learn how toread and write. He also shows us the risks of opposing a slaveholderwhenever one would be carried away with anger or emotion.

Atthe time Douglas wrote the narrative, slavery was still legal. He,therefore, doesn’t tell us his escape from slavery which is crucialin American history. At the time he wrote the narrative, there was asecretly organized effort to help slaves escape bondage in the north.Fredrick can’t reveal the secrets behind his escape as it wouldbring the slaveholders into the light on how the slaves wereescaping.

Tocounter what Douglass is saying in his work, we use famousintellectuals, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson as sources of historicalevidence. Fredrick illustrated on the impression of natural rights inaddition to the natural law tradition in his fight against bondage.Ralph’s works can be used to support Douglass’s statements andascertain them.

Toamplify Douglass’s works we refer to other works of literature onslavery written by African-American slaves. For example,” From theDarkness Cometh the Light, or, Struggles for Freedom” by Lucy AnnDelany and “Cotton is King” by David Christy


Ilike that he is so blunt in his narrations. At the time he waswriting the memoir, he was still a not liberalized meaning his formermaster would recapture and torture him. However, that didn’t get inhis way of a graphical delivery of what he wanted to get across. Heeven mentions the names of his previous masters boldness doesn’tget defined better than that! The fact that he risked his security tobring into light what his counterparts were experiencing to voicetheir plea for justice intrigues me.

WhatI don’t like about his work is his firm belief that given power,humans go for the opportunity to undignify and dominate a person.People previously viewed slaveholders as mean spirited but, in hisworks, he urges his audience to look at things from a differentperspective. He says that slavery changes the slaveholder and makesthem evil thus the blame should be on the system and not the masters.I don’t believe that the environment of bondage alone corrupts theminds of kind slaveholders. I learned that freedom is complicated. Iexpect Douglass to be elated to be finally free. Well, at first he isthen reality dawns upon him, and he becomes sad. His entire life wasin bondage but is now free. He is in a new place where he doesn’tknow anyone. He is always cautious with everybody he meets because hedoesn’t know who is the friend and who is the foe that could returnhim back to his chains.


Douglass, F. (1845). Narrativ of the life of Fredrick Douglass, an American slave. No.25 Cornhill: anti-slavery office.