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Critical Essay Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is an autobiographical account of the twenty years of the author’s life which he had spent as a slave serving under many masters. The author’s narrative gives an idea about the cruelties and tortures inflicted upon the African-American slave community by their fair-skinned American masters…
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Critical Essay on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
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Download file to see previous pages Therefore, both the accounts have explored the dark side of human nature and its manifestation in man’s behavior. There are positive as well as negative forces ruling the human mind and people usually enhance their intrinsic positive powers through prayers and good deeds to keep the negative influences under control. If these antagonistic forces are allowed to flourish, they can wreak havoc on people’s minds and urge them to behave in a devilish manner. The evil spirit resides within all human beings and if it is not subjugated properly, it compels men to commit acts of crime. These actions can harm other persons directly or can impede the sinner’s relationship with his beloved people. Douglass begins his account by reminiscing about some memories of his childhood. Though he knew that he was born in Tuckahoe, Hillsborough in Talbot County, he never had an idea about his age. His master had never felt the need to inform him and whenever Douglass had gone to him with such a query, it had been turned down. The author confesses that this had created confusion in his young mind. The neighboring fair-skinned children could all tell their respective ages, while Douglass was kept ignorant of the same. The author begins his autobiography on a despondent note which sets the tone for the narration of his miserable life which is to follow. The readers can almost sense that his unhappy childhood would lead the way into a depressing adult life. There is something secretive about his pedigree which Douglass’s master refused to let him know. This sense of secrecy raises doubts about the character and intensions of his master. They somehow indicate that Douglas’s owner is not an honest man. Thus, as Douglas’s account portrays the emergence of the negative human traits overshadowing the positive forces, the stage is almost set to exhibit how these negative forces can bring out devilish behavior in humans. Similarly, Hawthorne’s story young Goodman Brown also begins on an ominous note. The author depicts his protagonist Goodman Brown leaving behind his newly-married young wife ‘Faith’ to embark on a serious errand. Faith tells her husband that she had been subject to a worrying dream the previous nights and requests Brown to stay back with her, lest any danger befalls them: “Pray tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year”. (Hawthorne, 2). However, all Faith’s efforts fall in vain as Brown proceeds on his important task. Therefore, the story begins with an aura of inevitable doom engulfing its two main characters. This incident almost acts as a premonition of the incidents that unfold later in the story. The readers are filled with a sense of hesitancy as the protagonist ignores his wife’s requests to accomplish a predetermined duty. Hawthorne has given a symbolic name to his female protagonist where ‘Faith’ actually represents Goodman Brown’s belief in God. As Brown leaves behind Faith to stay alone at night, it is as if he severs himself from his own belief in the positive powers of the Allmighty. Brown knows that he is proceeding to work with dishonest men; he calls himself a “wretch” as he hurries on “his present evil purpose” (Hawthorne, 3). Therefore, the inherent goodness of Brown is overcome by the negative forces inside him, which later results in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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