Frederick Douglass was an orator and writer for the abolition movement. He was born into slavery and knows from personal experience how the institution dehumanizes everyone involved. His masters’ wife taught him the alphabet which was the start of Douglass learning how to write and speak out against slavery. His Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass was an attempt to describe the peculiar institution of slavery with out disrupting the sensibilities of his readers. In order to accomplish this Douglass must get his audience to relate to and identify with his life as a slave. He incorporated the same exploitive techniques used in the sentimental novel. This was an 18th century European novel style that engaged readers’ emotions to gain supporters for a particular cause. Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass appealed to the sensibilities of his readers by evoking emotions of sympathy and compassion causing his readers to identify with slavery and label it unnatural.
Fredrick Douglass throughout the novel is describing the horrific actions that maintain the institution of slavery. Separating a child from their mother means that one was never properly nurtured. He never knew his mother and did not build that loving bond that any human child needs to grow emotionally healthy.
Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, 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 describes how he never experienced a parental relationship. A mothers’ love is supposed to be unconditional yet his was taken from him. He uses the words “soothing” and “tender” to describe a relationship he never felt. It would be discomforting to the reader to imagine if they were forced to part with their own flesh and blood. In addition, Douglass makes the reader sympathize with him even more when he explains the news of her death. He compares her how he felt about her death to that of “…the death of a stranger”. This odd association reveals the lack of a true relationship and motherly connection. Whether it had been the death of his mother or a stranger he would have felt the same emotion. His readers could not imagine such a void in ones life.
Fredrick Douglass started of by explaining how he was alienated and stripped of his identity ever since he could remember. Basic knowledge like knowing who ones parents were,...