Frederick Douglass's extensively explore compelling slave narratives of his times. As he grew up, he faced plenty of racist discrimination and slavery-related hardships due to the tender age he forced into slavery. His depositions expose the struggles on living in toil and the struggle to fight for their freedom. In 1818, Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery under the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on the outcasts of Tuckahoe, Maryland. Later in life, he made an escape plan under a sailor's title voyaging for training to New York.
The new chapter of life opened when he finally freed himself and started a family with Anna Murray. The period was marking the onset of his exploitive voyage to demonize slavery and welcomed the association with the Anti-Slavery Society. Douglass exhausted different avenues to address the burning issue revolving the concept of slavery, one being his literature contribution. He wrote a relay of his experience in slavery in "From My Bondage and My Freedom" and as a newspaper columnist. Throughout the personified slave narratives of, Frederick Douglass, he exposes third-party readers to an insider's understanding of the struggles of slavery and the efforts taken to liberate the oppressed from the cruel acts of slavery. In his works, Douglass exploited many themes on the subject of slavery incited by the abolitionist movement. According to Douglass's arguments in the narration, corruption influenced slavery due to the unlimited powers it vested in evil and good personalities like Mr. Covey and Sophia respectively.
The theoretical exploration of Fredrick Douglass's literary works shows the significant themes in his line of thought and personal affiliations towards situations in life. These refrains subject Douglass's narrative in line with the vital concept of American slavery and the aptitudes of slave-hood. The theme of ignorance acts as the primary tool of enslavement. Douglass exploits this subject by showing how the slaveholders perpetuate in inhumane acts relating to slavery out of the stupidity of the blacks. During Douglass's struggle to free himself, many people perceived slavery as a course of nature. The subjective perception incapacitating black people to stand out for their social responsibility and inferior to the whites showed a high level of ignorance emanating from the blacks. Douglass portrays the different measures used by the slaveholders to ensure continuity in the slaves' reign of ignorance. Another theme exploited by Fredrick Douglass to expound on the slave narrative was the phrase that knowledge is the pathway to freedom. In this line of thought, Douglass builds on the contrast of ignorance; and advocates on the liberty of literacy. In his narration, Douglass explores the oppressive nature of the slaveholders in denying the slaves the right to an education that would require subsequent knowledge. It was to the slaveholders' advantage that the slaves did not know how to read and write as this was the pathway to freedom. Douglass was quick to note that lack of knowledge made black people slaves by default. He builds on this theme to show how access to information rendered him free. It was through expertise that he articulated the injustices.
Other themes shown in the slavery narrative of Douglass's life during and after slavery shows the superiority-subjectivity order of nature. In this perspective, Douglass showed how blacks in America naturally subjected themselves to the superiority of their white slaveholders. He was able to show his insight on the difference of his times, the primitivity of subjective thinking when he grew up as a slave and the superiority of his authority when he liberated his mind from slavery. In these different contexts of showing Douglass's line on though on one subject shows the real perspective of his works in real time. This literature is not only applicable to the preslavery time's but also to modern life. Slavery concerns emerge in many aspects of our lives to show oppression and domination on one group of people taking advantage of others with prejudice properties. In reflecting this work application of this literary work develops the school of thoughts in many fields to show the master-slave relationship between parties.
A Comparison of Fredrick Douglas's slavery narrative with Olaudah Equiano
Equiano and Douglass unreached their potential in their times, since, they led lives that called for envied by most slaves. The two men gained freedom out of captivity and oppression that faced slaves of their times a privilege not known by many of their kinds. Douglass preceded Equiano's school of thought on the American literature classified under slavery narrative. Driven by the desire to address the burning issues of prejudice deposited on African Americans, the two writers were quick to take the stage to communicate to their oppressors and the world at large on the evil of slavery in the society.
A lot of similarities show in the line of thought from Douglass and Equiano with the application of symbolism from the titles of their works to the content. The titles given to most of their jobs depicted the prejudice persevered by black slaves and the expansion of the slave system in the American society. Both Equiano and Douglass authenticated the quality of their works by personifying the content, especially on the titles to deal with the skepticism from white readers towards the abilities of 'ex-slaves.' For instance, an abolitionist, Collins, John sarcastically urged Frederick Douglass to add "plantation language" to ensure the credibility of his works with his intended audiences. Both writers' works classify as slave narratives; however, there are obvious contrasts between their schools of thought. These differences stand up from the authors' unique backgrounds and exposure to situations revolving around slavery as well as their adherence to social standards. It was clear that slavery narratives don't portray a replica of scenarios of black, prejudice and white slaveholders. The works of this two revolutionalizes do not only make landslide contribution to show slavery oppression but also voice black perspective in slavery narratives to contribute to the liberation of the situational opposition of victims and the perpetrators. In their works, the two authors were explorative on matters showing subjectivity and the scenario of freedom that need self-actualization through the power of knowledge. In this context, we learn that slavery narrative explores fundamental understandings of the different reigns survived from the vice. Therefore, the application of these high philosophers works do not end with slavery but lays a platform to explore human coexistence in the interest of coexisting. These facts show the continuity in their development and enhancement of literature and the considerable contribution to American literature.
Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Themes. Retrieved March 5, 2018, from https://www.shmoop.com/life-of-frederick-douglass/themes.html
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