The Narrative Of Frederick Do Essay Research

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The Narrative Of Frederick Do Essay, Research Paper The narrative of Frederick Douglass illustrates the life of a slave. He was not an ordinary slave. Indeed he dreamed of freedom, just as all slaves did, but there was something about Frederick Douglass that made him different. He dreamed of an education. It was this education that made him to be different. It was the knowledge that gave him self awareness that he was a man just as a white man was. It gave him the will to run away and live on his own. He no longer wanted to subject himself to the punishment of the overseer. This knowledge brought him the strength to stand up to those who thought themselves superior to him. It changed his personality and the notion of his own self. In this paper I will discuss the changing

self image, the personality, the instances that reflect these changes and the point of the autobiography of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass s notion of self in the novel revolve around the life that he lived. If it weren t for certain aspects of his life, he wouldn t have thought about himself as he did. Slavery scarred him just as other slaves. He was treated as property so he felt himself as property. In him lied no burning desire for something better at an early age. He never fought or protested. He merely went along with his work hoping that he would not be subjected to the overseers whip. His notion of self at this time, as I said, was that of a normal slave – property. All he knew was the slave world. He did not even know the love of a true family. He quotes, I

never saw my mother, to know her as such, more than four or five times in my life His father was a white man, so naturally he never saw him, since he had African blood in him. Frederick Douglass never had the upbringing of a loved child. He was never taught that he was special or unique in the world. He just knew that if he didn t work hard enough or do what master said, the whip would crack. This all reflected on his notion of self. Which at the beginning of the story was very low. Various incidences occurred in Frederick s life that reflected the view of himself. One incident mirrors notion of self at the beginning of the story. This was the first whipping that he ever saw. The first whipping was that of his Aunt Hester. At a young age he stood at the bloodstained gate, the

entrance to the hell of slavery . He watched as she was stripped, tied up, and shredded by the arm of the master. He watched her blood drip to the floor and heard her heart-rending shrieks. This event struck me with awful force and gave added to his own self notion. Slaves obeyed the rules or faced the consequences. As different events occurred in his life, his attitude and notion changed. He was given to a different master. It was here that things dramatically changed. The second significant event in Frederick s life came at the young age of seven or eight, when he was given to Master Hugh and his wife, a distant relative of Captain Anthony his former master. Here he was treated differently by his new “family.” No longer did he have to fear the whip from wrong doings or not

working hard enough. His primary responsibility was to take care of their only child, Thomas. Also, Master Hugh s wife was kind enough to teach Frederick to read. Her lessons would be short-lived, however, due to Master Hugh s firm belief that it would be dangerous to teach a slave to read or write. He said, If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master . Those words motivated Frederick to further his education and continue to learn however he could. He felt as if some secret lay behind knowledge. So he read everything he could. Eventually, newspapers and publications such as The Columbian Orator opened his eyes to the abolitionist movements in the North. It was then that his self-image changed, and he became aware of