Book Review: My Bondage And My Freedom By Frederick Douglass Dover Edition: New York, 1969 By Dover Publications, Inc.

1767 words - 7 pages

Frederick Douglass, an influential man who stands out boldly as an abolitionist in the nineteenth century has provided us with a compelling example of how a slave's life was like during the eighteen hundreds. Through his writing and particularly in "My Bondage and My Freedom," he gives the reader an idea of what slavery was like 'first hand' by reliving the unforgettable moments of his life. His recounting of his experience as a slave, and his reflections on his role as a black former slave in America, are powerful.Douglass was Born in Maryland in 1817, the son of a slave and a white father. At the age of eight, he started to educate himself with the help of his master's wife. In 1838, he fled Baltimore for the North. There he soon became a noted symbol against slavery. Later forced to flee to England and Ireland, he returned to the States with enough money to purchase his freedom. He then founded the North Star, an anti-slavery newspaper. He also wrote two other autobiographies, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" (1845) and "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass" (1881). "My Bondage and My Freedom" (1855) serves as an extension to "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" and gives us more information on Douglass' life especially about the period after he reached the north in 1838. Obviously a more mature writer now, his views concerning the necessity of the abolition of the institution of slavery are deeper, richer, and more detailed. Douglass is also one of the few African-Americans who was able to stand out in the largely white, new England abolition movement. Douglass was a vivid writer and speaker, who very openly expressed his views and ideas about slavery to large crowds.We hardly need to say that this autobiography bounds interest. The fact that an outcast part of an enslaved race accomplished his freedom, and educate himself up to an equality of intellectual and moral values is, in itself, so remarkable. It has the advantage to awe the reader because it is not fiction. Of course, it is impossible to say how much the author kept genuinely clean, since it was his story and no one but him was there, but the general tone is very truthful. He writes bitterly, as we might expect of one who writes under some inner provocation, taking incidents of individual experience to share with the outmost detail. His denunciation of slavery and slaveholders are not too discriminate, especially in the beginning, like if letting the reader decide for himself. English literature has seen many examples of genius struggling against adversity, surrounded by none but enemies, looking impossible to overcome, but then accomplishing it at last, and eventually raising himself to a leadership in a great movement. This is one of them, but this one is a genuine story, and this one is for the History books.This is a very well written book that makes one wonder so much about the ignorance of America during these times. The author's...

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