Thu 30 Nov 2006
As I read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas I noticed that often times through out the chapters he narrates incidents that involved others in his attempt to show the injustice and cruelty of slavery. He uses a technique in which he talks about slavery in such a way, as if he is just an spectator looking inside of a circle from the outside, rather than being part of that circle. Even though he is a slave him self, he gives deep analysis of what went on in the lives of other slaves. Like when he talks about his aunt getting severely whipped (pg 1006) because she disobeyed her master’s command. He refers to other slave’s punishments but not to his own experience with punishments. Another instance where one comes across this, is when (pg 1007) he refers to the monthly allowance of food. Frederick Douglas writes “the slaves” to tell about their monthly food and annual clothing distribution. Instead of using the word “we” indicating that he was, at some point a slave, he uses words such as “their” and “they” which help contribute to the idea that he writes as if he was an spectator. When Douglas explains that singing among slaves is not an indication of “their contentment and happiness” he once again, makes the reader feel as he is an expert in the subject but not part of it. However, I feel that his technique of writing in such a way provides the reader with a constant reminder that Douglas makes it out of this cruelty and injustice. Douglas at various instances through out the chapters provides hints for the reader, to help remind one that he has a successful ending. An example of this is when Douglas (pg 1017) mentions that going to Baltimore opened “the gate way to all his…prosperities” giving the reader relief after reading the narrative of all the horrific events that slaves had to endure.