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Frederick Douglass: The Voice Of A Movement

1417 words - 6 pages

Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass is an empowering tale of a slave that faces some of the worst scenarios imaginable and manages to keep that slim sliver of hope alive until he reaches the ultimate goal of being a free man. Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass was not only an autobiography about Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent figures in the abolition of slavery. The autobiography was used as a tool to support and promote the idea of the abolition of slavery to not just the United States, but to most of the world. The way in which this narrative was used as a device for the promotion of abolishment is that it not only shows the experiences of a slave. It shows the expericences of a slave that had the one thing many slave did not have at the time and something that slave masters didn't want slaves to obtain and that something is knowledge. Frederick Douglass even says in an early statement in the book after Master Hugh told his wife, “If you give a n***** an inch, he will take an ell” Douglass figured out that in learning the alphabet that he had gotten the inch and he was not going to quit gathering knowledge until he obtained the proverbial ell (Douglass 20-23) There are many ways in which a person in the 1840s would be persuaded to join the sides of the abolitionists after reading this narrative. These include relating to the characters that are presented in the narrative and also becoming one of the first accounts of slavery that many northerners have come in contact with and help show them the harsh damnation that is slavery.
Many parts of the narrative contained gruesome recollections of brutal violence that Douglass either saw or was apart of on a firsthand basis. Much like when Douglass recollected on the time he saw Mr.Gore whip one of Colonel Lloyd's slaves, named Demby. After taking the whipping from Mr.Gore Demby decided to try to subdue the pain by submerging himself in the creek. At this point Mr.Gore told Demby that he would give him three calls to come out of the creek and if at the third call Demby was still in the creek that Mr.Gore would shoot him where he stands. After Mr.Gore made three calls for Demby to come out of the creek Mr.Gore did not hesitate to pull out his musket and aim it point blank at Demby's face and cause the creek to become riddled with blood and brains. Douglass stated that even after commiting this act Mr.Gore continued to remain calm and blamed the act on Demby becoming unmanagable therefore getting no punishment for his actions (Douglass 13-14). Many of the instances that Douglass talks about in the narrative would bring chills to a mans spine with the meager thought of being apart of such heinous actions towards a human being. But Douglass states that this is a mainstay in Talbot County, Maryland, where Douglass states that such actions are not even treated as crimes by either the courts or the community.(Douglass 14) This brings to mind the fact that some northerners...

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