Review of the Life of Frederick Duglass

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Review of the Life of Frederick Duglass


November 18, 2014

Ms. Hancock

American heritage

Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass

        The book that I have chosen for my review essay is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by none other than Frederick Douglass himself. Douglass was born Frederick Bailey and through hard work and unbeatable will secures his own freedom and devotes his like to securing change in the nation. Frederic Douglass tells us his true story about slavery in early America.

Published by Frederick Douglass in 1845 at the age of 27, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave is one of the most influential works by an American author in history. His narrative was an autobiography that recounted his life from his earliest days as a slave in Maryland to his escape to the North in 1838. The story ends with Douglass entering the abolitionist crusade as one of its most prominent and respected lecturers and reformers in history. Douglass was encouraged by his fellow abolitionists to publish his story, which had gained support from his multiple speeches on the subject. He was hesitant at first, stating that “a person undertaking to write a book without learning will appear rather novel, but such as it was I gave it to the public.” His intention in writing the autobiography was primarily to legitimize his speeches and his own voice. He explained in May 1846 that “my manner was such as to create a suspicion that I was not a runaway slave, but some educated free negro, whom the abolitionists had set forth to attract attention to what was called there a faltering cause…it became necessary to set myself right before the United States, and to reveal the whole facts about my case.” (Osborne, Kristen. McKeever, Christine ed. “About Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass | Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Study Guide”. GradeSaver, 5 September 2012 Web. 18 November 2014.)

Narrative begins with Douglass providing the audience with the few facts he knows about his birth. His father is believed to be his white master Captain Anthony and his mother is a slave named Harriet Bailey, Baily being Frederick’s original last name. Throughout the autobiography, Douglass presents the common happening of white slave owners raping slave women in both the interest of sexual desires and increasing their own slave population. Douglass also makes strong note of the hypocrisy of “Christian” slave owners who misused religious teachings to justify their in humane treatment of slaves.