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An Essay On Frederick Douglass And How When Writing His Narrative His Ability To Face His Past Limited Himself In Expressing Himself In His Book

1938 words - 8 pages

The Complex Emotions of Frederick DouglassFor a book to be successful it is important to not only send a message and to educate, but it is also important to appeal to a wide audience. With Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass needs to appeal to the white man for people to hear his story. While this may be true, it is important to remember the very powerful emotions felt by a slave during the time of slavery. Douglass begins by recalling instances he witnessed as a young boy. All of the scenes are very unemotional. This appears to be due to the fact that Douglass wants to be objective rather then subjective to appeal to his audience. However, later on in chapter ten and in the appendix, Douglass lets his emotions through and he becomes more biased in his retelling. Frederick Douglass is unable to express the emotions he felt as a young boy in the early chapters because he does not want to allow himself to recall them, but as he grows older and becomes more educated Douglass is able to experience and share those emotions more.As expressed in all the chapters of the Narrative, Douglass tries to give an insight to the educated white man of the evils of slavery. In an effort to appeal to the white audience he uses situations he has observed in his life. By doing this, he is able to paint the awful picture of what slavery was like without necessarily saying it was wrong of the white man to do. Instead, Douglass blames the system and not the people. This is a clever attempt to cover up the blaming of the white man since they created the system and are the only ones who can change it. In the early chapters, Douglass explains how he does not know his exact age, but he can guess that he was born around 1818. He also focuses on the fact that he was separated from his mother at a very young age to hinder the natural bond between a mother and child. This shows how the slaveholder has power over the slave. It is argued today that the bond between a mother and her child begins before the baby is even born. Then, when the baby is born the child and mother already have a connection. For Douglass, he was separated so young that when his mother dies he writes, "I received the tidings of [my mother's] death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger" (Douglass 21). In Douglass's case, the slaveholder, Captain Anthony, was successful in breaking the mother-child bond. Throughout Douglass's life as a slave he will be unable to really connect and love anyone since he was never shown how. The quote also shows that Douglass is not afraid of putting his simple emotions into his book; it is the personal and more complex ones he has difficulties with. Since he never really knew his mother, it is hard for him to be upset about never knowing her. The emotion he has with his mother is almost obsolete so it is not difficult for him to express to his readers what happened. As the memories of his...

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