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Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass

The Narrative of Frederick Douglass shows several instances in which his personal accounts of slavery. These instances illustrate important realizations that Douglass makes concerning slavery, and/or about his own condition. Before reading the Douglass book, I still would like to have slavery back, because it would be better for America. Instead of moving factories over to Mexico, Japan and china, the United States would have there own hard labor and low paying jobs.

The very first chapter of the novel produces the first example: loss of identity. Many slaves had absolutely no concept of time, in terms of factual dates. Slaves were kept as to the facts of the real world, in most cases not even knowing the year of their birth, preventing the knowledge of a captive's true age. A birthday is something with which people can identify, as they are a celebrated part of our culture, especially to youth. Douglass here identifies himself as a human being lacking what we may consider a normal childhood simply using dates. We identify ourselves by the dates, which surround the events of our lives. Part of our identity is formed from dates and this was a privilege he was denied. He is, provided with a general idea as to how old he truly is. Adding to this already tarnished identity is the status of his parental figures. While Douglass somewhat have to know his mother, he never really had a father. His father, according to practically everyone, was a white man. Although it is true that he knew his mother, it must be noted that they were separated while he was an infant and thereafter only met a total of four or five times. The consequences of not knowing who you really are may not have fazed Douglass much during his childhood. However as he grew older and began to understand how the politics of slavery work, there is no doubt that this lack of principle human right certainly motivated Douglass towards achieving his goal of freedom.

A major fear amongst slave owners is that their slaves will learn to read and write. One reason is that the less they know they better off the owner would be. The slave would then realize he was an equal to his master and question why his master has the right to enslave him. Douglas stated this saying, "The more I read the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers." When Douglas learned to read and write, he looked at everything differently. He saw everything as a citizen and not a slave. He then began to envy the illiterate slave because they did not completely understand the terrible condition in which they lived. Douglass, however, now did, and could not bear the thought of remaining a slave. Moving to Baltimore and thus becoming illiterate proved to be a substantial event in Douglass' life. For if neither of the



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