In the beginning of the book, Douglass cuts himself on a rock and watches his blood trickle out of him. This is the first time he ever really thought about it, and the first time he ever realized that he is alive. He feels pain and feels happiness and realizes that life is a wonderful thing. His senses are more real and he is more aware of how he breathes, bleeds and feels the grass rub against his arm for the first time. "And at last, slowly, afraid he would find nothing, opened one eye. And everything, absolutely everything was there. The world, like a great iris of an even more gigantic eye, which has also just opened and stretched out to encompass everything, stared back at him. And he knew what it was that had leaped upon him to stay and would not run away now. I'm alive, he thought."
A motif in this book could be the divinity of life. It shouldn't be taken for granted no matter what happens. No matter if you get ill, like Douglass, life is still a wonderful thing and there are always things there to remind you of your fortune.
Another motif in this book is the realization that with life, comes inevitable death. Its more like you have to eventually give in to the fact that death is inevitable. It is difficult for a boy so young of age to come to terms with this. After realizing the sensation of life for the first time ever, it would be very hard to understand death much less think about it. Death although it is the end of your life, is not such a bad thing. As long as you live your life happy and appreciative, you wont be so afraid of...