Thu 30 Nov 2006
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave was extremely interesting. More so than any other reading this semester, Douglass was particularly compelling because of his oratorical style and his ability to achieve a sense of emotion from his words. In his writing, Douglass uses a variety of symbols and themes to describe his eventual escape from slavery. Throughout the Narrative, Douglass describes the idea and his grasp of power as a tool that propels his escape to the North. Moreover, within Douglass’s power, lies his literacy. Unlike many slaves at the time, because Douglass was able to read and write, he nearly achieved the social status of a White man. Like many other prolific African American writers in history, Douglass believed that such an ability should not be contained only within the powerful White society. Consequently, Douglass’s unique ability (within the slave community) to read and write allowed him to quickly progress through a dominant White society in which many were stuck. Additionally, Douglass’s escape to the North began his career as an orator. Here, I found it fascinating that not only did Douglass look towards his emotions for help, but also his faith. A strong believer in religion, Douglass was mistrusted by many. Therefore, Douglass looked towards the members of his church for support and created a strong following in the hope to someday protect all slaves. Eventually able to convince many to join him and fellow abolitionists, Douglass gave a glimmer of hope to those slaves who thought freedom did not exist. In the end, because Douglass had the courage to learn how to read and write on his own and to escape to the North, he created the notion the slavery was inhumane and demanded social justice.