Term papers writing service


Frederick douglass life of a slave essay

See also Frederick Douglass Criticism. The Narrative is the most famous of the more than one hundred American slave narratives written prior to the Civil War.

Biographical Information Douglass, whose mother was a black slave and whose father was an unidentified white man, possibly his master, was born around 1817 in Tuckahoe, Maryland, as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.

  1. Douglass's only work of fiction, it celebrates the bravery of Madison Washington, who is portrayed as a lonely and isolated hero.
  2. Douglass's only work of fiction, it celebrates the bravery of Madison Washington, who is portrayed as a lonely and isolated hero.
  3. By 1845, Douglass's eloquent and cogent oratory had led many to doubt that he was indeed a former slave. In 1838, Douglass escaped to New York where he became a prominent figure in the abolitionist movement.

He was separated from his mother in infancy and raised by his maternal grandmother on the estate of his master, Captain Aaron Anthony. His childhood was relatively happy until he was transferred to the plantation of Anthony's employer, Colonel Edward Lloyd.

In 1825 Douglass was again transferred, this time to the Baltimore household of Hugh Auld, whose wife began teaching Douglass to read until Auld insisted that she stop.

Navigate Guide

Douglass became convinced that literacy provided an important key to achieving his freedom and secretly began learning to read on his own. In 1838, Douglass escaped to New York where he became a prominent figure in the abolitionist movement. In the 1840s he began speaking publicly as a lecturer for William Lloyd Garrison's Massachusetts Antislavery Society, and wrote the Narrative, his account of his experiences as a slave, in response to those critics who doubted that such an eloquent orator had ever been in bondage.

Concerned that he could be returned to captivity under the fugitive slave laws, Douglass traveled to England and Ireland, where he was well received by local social reformers.

He returned to America in 1847 and bought his freedom from his former master. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s he continued his work as a writer and speaker for the abolitionist movement, and in 1863 he served as an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln on the use of black soldiers in the war effort.

  • His later years were chiefly devoted to political and diplomatic assignments, including a consulgeneralship to the Republic of Haiti, which he recounts in the 1892 revised edition of his final autobiographical work, the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself;
  • There Douglass endured the rigors of slavery;
  • This view persisted until the 1930s, when both Vernon Loggins and J.

After the Civil War, Douglass became involved in diplomatic work, including an assignment as consul-general to the Republic of Haiti. He died in 1895 at his home in Washington, D. Plot and Major Characters Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a detailed, firsthand account of slave life and the process of self-discovery by which Douglass recognized the evils of slavery as an institution. Douglass began his story with his birth and immediately ran into a problem specific to the life of a slave.

Although he knew where he was born, he had no exact knowledge of the date, a fact that set him apart from the white children of the plantation who knew their ages and could celebrate their birthdays.

Frederick Douglass Douglass, Frederick - Essay

He first concluded that keeping slaves ignorant and illiterate was an important element in their subjugation, and resolved to teach himself to read. Second, by observing Mrs. Auld's transformation from a kindly woman with no previous experience as a slave-owner to a harsh mistress under her husband's tutelage, Douglass learned of the institution's effects on even well-intentioned whites.

  1. His later years were chiefly devoted to political and diplomatic assignments, including a consulgeneralship to the Republic of Haiti, which he recounts in the 1892 revised edition of his final autobiographical work, the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself.
  2. He based his 1853 novella The Heroic Slave on the real-life slave revolt aboard the American ship Creole in 1841.
  3. According to Morgan, what distinguishes Douglass's story from Jacobs's and indeed from most other slave narratives, is the author's emphasis on his existence as an individual who achieved both literacy and freedom almost entirely on his own.
  4. Douglass died at his home in Anacostia Heights, District of Columbia, in 1895. Critics in recent years have become far more exacting in their analysis of the specific narrative and rhetorical strategies that Douglass employed in the Narrative to establish a distinctly black identity, studying the work's tone, structure, and placement in American literary history.
  5. In 1838, he realized his long-cherished goal by escaping to New York. Expounding the theme of racial equality in stirring, invective-charged orations and newspaper editorials in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s, he was recognized by his peers as an outstanding orator and the foremost black abolitionist of his era.

The acquisition of the one precipitated the desire for the other, which was, for Douglass, a two-edged sword. He had occasional regrets about the knowledge that literacy afforded him because without the ability to change his status as slave, he was more miserable than ever.

Nonetheless, Douglass's ability to tell his story in his own words firmly refuted the commonly held belief at the time that slaves were incapable of communicating through the standard conventions of American literature. Douglass not only displayed his facility with the dominant literary modes of his time, but he also incorporated folkloric elements from both black and white cultures into his text. O'Meally points out that Douglass drew on the tradition of the African-American sermon, itself grounded in folklore, and that the Narrative was meant to be preached as well as read.

Douglass's ambivalent relationship to Christianity is another important theme of his story. The Narrative exposed the hypocrisy of individual Christians whose treatment of slaves was cruel and inhumane, and of organized Christianity as a whole which, with few exceptions, supported the institution of slavery and even claimed that it was sanctioned by God.

Critical Reception Of the many slave narratives produced in the nineteenth century, Douglass's has received the most critical attention and is widely regarded as the best.

Scholars have focused on Frederick douglass life of a slave essay participation in various discourses, both black and white, including those associated with folklore and with Christianity. Kelly Rothenberg discusses Douglass's use of elements from black folklore that warn against the dangers of resistance to slavery, although he himself rejected the advice those tales offered and tried to escape despite the risks.

James Wohlpart explores Douglass's double challenge: Douglass, claims Wohlpart, operated within the discourse of white Christianity at the same time that he subverted it.

According to Morgan, what distinguishes Douglass's story from Jacobs's and indeed from most other slave narratives, is the author's emphasis on his existence as an individual who achieved both literacy and freedom almost entirely on his own. Bergner examines Douglass's description of the whipping of his Aunt Hester whereby he became painfully aware of slavery as an institution.