Frederick Douglass' "Narrative Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1198 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies


Sophia Auld provides Douglass with his first bit of knowledge, and with the foundation, he builds his learning upon it. Sophia, however, illustrates the effects that slavery has on the slave owner. White Americans without slaves sometimes had pity for the slaves, but never understood how slave holding, and the power that is entailed, would turn someone sweet-natured, and God-fearing into what Sophia Auld transforms into - a mean, power-hungry, bitter woman. Douglass not only wrote his narrative to expose the cruelty that slaves are subjected to, but to also let Americans bear witness to the negative effects that slavery caused on the slave holders as well. Slave owners were usually Christians, and used their corrupt interpretations to justify their cause - Douglass hopes to cause concern among Christians who didn't support slavery - their religious beliefs were being wrongfully used. It wasn't enough for masters to be kind to their slaves - slaveholding itself was wrong.

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Douglass provides excruciatingly detailed accounts of violence throughout the novel. Douglass didn't exaggerate - he wanted to paint a truthful portrait of the senseless violence of slavery - a portrait that was played down in the media (or ignored all together) and certainly justified by many through their own distorted beliefs. Again, those who were not around slavery were sheltered to the true events that happened on a daily basis on a plantation - children who had to go naked because their clothes wore out, slaves receiving one blanket but no bed, masters producing illegitimate children who were then treated cruelly by the masters' wives, slaves being severely beaten - even children slaves - just to prove a point to the other slaves. And slaves that tell on other slaves are rewarded, again stripping slaves of any sense of brotherhood or family. White slave holders, on the other hand, stick together no matter what.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Frederick Douglass' "Narrative on the Assignment

Douglass reaffirms his Christianity in the appendix to his autobiography in an attempt to not alienate Christian readers. He wants all Americans to read his book, and he doesn't want to condemn Christianity as the source of slavery. He again wants to unite all Americans against the evils of slavery, and maybe if they can see the threat that slavery is imposing upon their religious integrity, they might begin to see the truth instead of the lies.

Douglass believed that because the Northern Americans didn't own slaves, they weren't economically prosperous. When he arrived in Massachusetts, he was astonished at the economic boom he saw. Douglass uses this incident as another example as to the myths that people have believed are true about slavery - that rich people MUST own slaves - that one cannot be rich without slaves. With each myth he is able to prove wrong, Douglass is again showing how slavery isn't needed, or justified, and how slavery is wrong.

Douglass' "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" makes astounding progress in the fight to abolish slavery. Douglass uses his own life, with no embellishment, to show the power slaveholders wield over their slaves, and what severe consequences can come from slaveholding. Perverted relations with slaves, children born illegitimately then taken from their mothers, an entire race of people stripped of their culture and identity, inhumane violent episodes, and incorrect assumptions about slavery are all subjects incorporated into this first volume of his life. Douglass was one of the first to pen such a novel, and the effect its contents had on Americans was tremendous. Douglass continued to fight for freedom of all slaves, and this novel was his first and greatest step. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Frederick Douglass' "Narrative.  (2002, November 25).  Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

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"Frederick Douglass' "Narrative."  25 November 2002.  Web.  1 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Frederick Douglass' "Narrative."  November 25, 2002.  Accessed December 1, 2021.