The Life And Work Of Frederick Douglass — страница 2

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best. There was no abolitionist, black or white, that was more respected for his speaking skills. So impressive were Frederick Douglass’s oratorical and intellectual abilities that opponents refused to believe that he had been a slave and alleged that he was an impostor foistered on the public by the abolitionists. In reply, Douglass wrote Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845) , which he revised in later years; in final form, it appeared in 1882 under the title Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Quarles, Benjamin, Microsoft Encarta). One must not overlook Frederick Douglass’s oratory skills when looking at his literary career; however, it is Douglass’s form which left the largest impact on Civil War time period literature. Douglass’s

most significant autobiographical works include: Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave; My Bondage And My Freedom; and Life And Times Of Frederick Douglass. These three books are about the same person, and share a similar message, but are written by Frederick Douglass at different times of his life, looking at the past in different ways. In Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, Douglass uses a simple, yet educated approach to show how he felt as a slave growing up in Maryland. Douglass’s Narrative was known as being a brief, descriptive, and easy to read piece of literature. It showed the hardships of slavery as seen by a real slave. Douglass became educated through his own means. Knowledge was truly a blessing for Frederick Douglass. Without

knowledge, Douglass never would have achieved freedom. With knowledge, Douglass realized the importance of freedom. This gave him his desire and a goal, but most of all, hope. Without knowledge, Frederick Douglass would never have been the man he was when he was free. He could express the problems and the solutions of slavery in a convincing, educated manner. This made him more than a cheap source of labor in the North. Knowledge also was a blessing in that it gave his mind a challenge that the burdens of everyday slavery could not give. Learning to read and write was a challenge simply because the resources were not there. He used wit and good natured cunning to trick local school boys into teaching him the alphabet. If he had never sought knowledge, he would never been able to

write any of his autobiographies which live on even today as important accounts of slavery. Also, without knowledge, Frederick Douglass would not have become an American legend like he is today. Christianity also played an important role in Frederick Douglass’s life, as well as his autobiography. Douglass had conflicting feelings about slavery and Christianity as seen in Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Frederick Douglass believed in God and was a Christian himself. He saw the Christianity of his white masters to be a crude mockery of the real thing. At first, Douglass believed that a master who found religion became more humane. When he actually witnessed his master after he became religious, he found him very much more cruel than before.

Douglass states, “after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty.” (pg.187) Frederick Douglass’s Narrative is perhaps his best known, as well as, most popular work. After writing Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave in 1845, Douglass wrote another biography, My Bondage And My Freedom in 1855. This autobiography featured quite a bit more content than the concise Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass. My Bondage And My Freedom is a look at slavery from Douglass, both more mature as a person, and as a writer. Also, he reflects on his life as a slave in more detail. My Bondage And My Freedom also gives readers an update to Narrative that includes Douglass’s life as a free man. In 1881, Life And Times

Of Frederick Douglass was published. This was Douglass’s final autobiography with the exception of a larger edition that was issued in 1892. It is the life and the times, as the title suggests, of Douglass’s entire life. This book was less popular with the public than the previous two. Many people found it to be the same material as the other two, and less enjoyable to read. “Its time had passed-or so thought the public, which did not buy it” (McFeely 311). This book included Frederick Douglass’s life as a slave, as well as a free man, well known speaker, and respected diplomat. At the time period it was written, after emancipation, the public was in less need for abolitionist propaganda. But the book’s real message—which few people received—was that the story of