Wed 29 Nov 2006
Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative” is a compelling and heart wrenching account of the life of a slave. His use of the first person and obvious passion in telling his story effectively draw in the reader. When he writes about the slave songs, and the common misconception about them, his eloquent telling of his own feels at that moment make the story even more powerful and memorable. Douglass writes that the slaves sang to express and release their great sorrows, and that the songs are full of pain and grief. Most white people at the time believed the slaves sang when they were happy, as music and singing are often related to happiness. To show the true meaning and power of the slave songs, Douglass states how years later, as a free man, he is still affected by the memory of these mournful songs. He writes, “the mere recurrence 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.” This is clearly a very person moment that he is sharing with the reader, which makes the reader feel a connection to Douglass, making his tale even more compelling and powerful. It is the intimate details that are most memorable in his tragic story. The knowledge that there is a happy ending, that Douglass does escape slavery and reach freedom, is felt throughout the “Narrative,” and provides a ray of hope, even as he writes of the terrible story of slavery.