Fredrick Douglass' Narrative of The Life

Essay by MccaddenSucksUniversity, Bachelor's September 2004

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By Lee A. Zito

Fredrick Douglass was a courageous African-American man. He fought against slavery using his outstanding intelligence, which helped prove his race was equal to the majority race that suppressed them. In 1845, Douglass wrote his Narrative of The Life. It was a heavily influential book against the idea and practice of slavery, that remains popular to this day. Although Douglass had changed the names of the characters within his book, all the accounts written in his book are true.

Within the book, Douglass destroys the stereotype put upon his people. Through example he shows the reader that the African-American race is not inferior to the White Race. The people believed this stereotype, because plantation owners were infamous for their fables on how the African Americans were simple minded. Thus this created the type cast of slaves being ignorant and incapable of learning. The White people never imagined African Americans could rise above this stereotype, until Douglass' proved them wrong.

As Fredrick Douglass explains in his narrative, during those times it was illegal to educate slaves. Therefore, it was almost impossible to prove plantation owners were wrong to call slaves inferior. Douglass educated himself by carefully picking up learning tools here and there. An already intelligent person, Douglass soon became literate. This was amazing accomplishment, considering he could have been killed for it.

Throughout the Preface of Douglass' narrative, which was written by William Lloyd Garrison, we get an even closer look into the world of slavery as well as the world of Fredrick Douglass. Garrison describes what a magnificent individual he found Douglass to be.

He describes him as a hero, one who had overcome the evil force of slavery, which goes against the will of God and all that is just and good. Garrison introduces...