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Frederick Douglass's Narrative

Include a detailed summary of Frederick Douglass’s Narrative in your (at least) one (1) page of discussion. Include your ideas only – no information from critical sources. LECTURE NOTES Frederick Douglass's Narrative Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Frederick Douglass’ Narrative is a personal account of self-discovery, survival, and escape from slavery. He shares a story of the physical and emotional realities of oppression. In Chapter 1 Douglass emphasizes deprivation and what he does not know about himself and his background and explains how slaves are linked to the natural cycle (they estimate their birthdays by planting-time, for example). He discusses his capability of figuring things out such as estimating his own age. Douglass makes explicit references to unhappiness early in his life. For example, he is separated from his mother at an early age, and he describes witnessing his aunt’s whipping, which is the first of a long series of violent events. He notes the brutality of white masters and the degree to which sexual issues are intertwined with those of slavery. Chapter 2 is concerned with Colonel Lloyd and his household. Douglass discusses the songs that the slaves sing. He explains that he traces his “first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery” to those songs. Douglass experiences mixed emotions, both joy and sadness, in the songs. The joy is connected to going to the Great House Farm. The author asserts that there is no joy without sadness in the slaves’ lives, but in spite of their oppression they are able to find reasons for some happiness. The dehumanization of slavery is demonstrated in Chapter 3. Douglass discusses the episode of the two Barneys and the arbitrary punishment they receive from a cruel master whose care and concern for his horses is far greater than for the slaves who take care of the horses. In Chapter 4 Douglass provides a steadily intensifying emphasis on slavery’s injustice. The author participates emotionally in the dilemma of the murdered slaves. In Chapter 5 Douglass attributes his departure from Colonel Lloyd’s plantation to the interposition of Providence. This places the narrative in a religious context, raising the issue of Christians who reconcile themselves to slavery. The key event of Chapter 6 is the unsuccessful reading lessons Douglass’ mistress provides him. Douglass stresses that even in the best possible conditions for slaves, injustice and oppression continue and remain impossible to endure. In Chapter 7 Douglass discusses learning to read and write with assistance from white children. These experiences intensify his awareness of the intolerable difference of situation between black slave children and white children. Douglass’ consciousness of his predicament fosters his interest in abolitionists and abolitionism. Reading The Columbian Orator and discussing slavery with the Irishmen increase his understanding of his situation and further augment his determination to learn to read and write. Douglass possesses the ability to make use of what lies outside himself, a capacity very helpful to him. Chapter 8 includes an account of Douglass’ imposed leaving of Baltimore along with discussion of his somewhat kind master. The chapter’s major episode involves the partially imagined story of his grandmother, who “lives to remember and mourn over the loss of children, the loss of grandchildren, and loss of great-grandchildren.” The author envisions her lonely death and insists that a righteous God will punish those accountable for such circumstances. The isolation of the author’s grandmother symbolizes another aspect of injustice. The sense of community among slaves is their most valuable resource; isolating Douglass’ grandmother in the woods deprives her of this community. In Chapter 9 Douglass finds himself at the mercy of a cruel master. Southern Christianity is the central issue in this chapter. In Chapter 10 Douglass shares events that foster an even greater desire for freedom. He discusses emotional forces that make escape a must and circumstances that contribute to making escape possible. This chapter summarizes Douglass’ experience with three different masters. He discusses the failed attempt to escape and the growing determination to escape from progressively more intense abuse. Douglass discusses other events such as the “magic root” to protect him from whippings, the Sabbath school he has founded, and his experience as a caulker in Baltimore. He depicts his sense of personal integrity and independence along with his strong sense of community. The escape takes place in Chapter 11, where Douglass stresses his emotions regarding this event. The author deliberately suppresses the details of his escape. He describes the sadness at breaking ties of affection with his friends who are still slaves, excitement at the prospect of freedom, suspicion of white and black men also, astonishment at the prosperity of the North, and exhilaration at earning his own money. In the Appendix, Douglass discusses religious hypocrisy or religious declarations that do not coincide with the slaveholders’ actions. Frederick Douglass met with President Lincoln to discuss the abolition of slavery. He was a leader of the women’s rights movement, and on the day that he died, he spoke at a women’s rights meeting with Susan B. Anthony. Douglass desegregated the trains in New England by refusing to leave the all-white section until he was physically carried off. He spoke out for world peace, temperance, Irish freedom, and the repeal of the Corn Laws that oppressed English farm laborers. In addition, he was against capital punishment and advocated prison reform.
Include a detailed summary of Frederick Douglass’s Narrative in your (at least) one (1) page of discussion. Include your ideas only – no information from critical sources.
Assignment ID
463133
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CREATED ON
7 April 2018
COMPLETED ON
8 April 2018
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$30
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