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Frederick Douglass was fortunate enough to escape slavery. In this novel, he explains his life as a slave. Although he went through a lot of traumatic moments as a slave, he was one of the lucky ones to escape slavery. Today, people still read this narrative to remember how cruel this time period was and to make them feel sorry for how they were treated.
In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass discusses his life as a slave and how he became a free man. He transforms from a child who thinks that it is normal for him to be a slave to a man who became aware of the horrible treatment slaves received and wanted to escape the slave life. It first takes place in Maryland in the 1800s. Douglass was born into slavery since his mom was an African American slave. When he lived with his master, Captain Anthony, he was lucky to be young because he was not able to do much and he would help in the household. But while he lived with Captain Anthony as a child, he saw many scarring moments of slaves being punished by getting whipped. Douglass was then given away to Hugh Auld in Baltimore. While in Baltimore, Hugh’s wife, Sophie taught him to read and the alphabet. But once the husband finds this out, he makes her stop teaching Douglass. Fortunately, the neighborhood kids finished teaching Douglass to read. Although, after he learns how to read, Douglass became aware of how badly slaves are treated. He is then taken to Thomas Auld after Captain Anthony dies. Once Douglass is with his new Master, Thomas thinks that he is unmanageable and rents him to another owner, named Edward Convey. This master was one of the cruelest master he has ever had. Douglass was forced to work more than ever before and he was whipped constantly. He becomes a different man and starts to lose interest in reading. But on the last straw, Douglass fights Convey, which makes Convey reluctant to touch him again. Douglass is then given to another master named William Freeland. This was where he starts educating other slaves to read. He also starts planning an escape plan with a few other slaves. But, then, someone tells Freeland their plan and is taken to jail. Once he is released from jail, he sent back to Baltimore to Hugh Auld, one of his previous. Douglass then decided to get a job at a trade industry and turns in all of his cash to his slave owner. Later on, Hugh lets Douglass keep the money he made. He saved his money so he is able to move to New York. He marries a woman named Anna, who happens to also be a former slave, and becomes a writer.
The Narrative Life of the Life of Frederick Douglass was released to the public in 1845. A reason why he wrote this book was to give slave owners a way to understand how it feels to be a slave and give them insight on the life of a slave. He might have also written about his life as a slave to give knowledge to future readers on how life was a slave was in the 1800s. Douglass paints an illustration to the reader’s mind a vivid and cruel imagery of how slaves were whipped and treated unfairly compared to privilege, white Americans. Another possible reason why he wrote this was to give future readers a way to prevent their generation from becoming as cruel as this time period was for African Americans. One of these reasons may have been one of the reasons why Fredrick Douglass shared his life story, but no matter what, his narrative taught readers, including me, about how slaves were treated.
When reading the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, I felt sorry for Douglass and for the scarring moments from his life as a slave that traumatized him. His gaudy and descriptive writing about his terrifying moments as a slave easily helped me visualize these harsh instances as a slave. For example, when slaves were forced fed food, I was able to see the pain they had from this experience. I also thought that the book ultimately had a positive ending since Douglass escaped from slavery and ended up happy with his new wife and his new career as a writer. After reading about Douglass’s life, I learned about how hard it was to be a slave and how they unfortunately had to go through the pain of being a slave. Before reading this, I knew that slaves were not treated the best during the 1800s, but I did not know how terrifying it actually was until after I read the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I was not aware of how bad both the physical and the mental abuse was for African American slaves. I am now able to compare that treatment that African Americans have received during the 1800s is not as bad as the treatment today.
The Narrative of Fredrick Douglass gives readers insight on how slaves were treated in the 1800s. With his graphic and horrifying descriptions of slave treatment, it makes readers feel sorry for Douglass. Fortunately, Douglass was able to become free from slavery and wrote his story to let readers be aware of this horrible treatment. Reading this has made me aware of the slaves’ treatment back then, but also thankful that African Americans do not go through this kind of treatment anymore.
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