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Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass - Essay Example

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Summary
The narrative itself is the real-to-life recollection of the experience Frederick Douglass had as a slave. Today this narrative is recognized as a canonical piece…
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Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass

Download file to see previous pages... One of the most pervasive feelings Douglass expresses is the utter lack of hope and meaning in the face of horrid life experiences. In chapter 10, Douglass experiences terrible conditions when living with Mr. Covey. Because Douglass is inexperienced as a field hand he goes through physical abuse at the hands of Mr. Covey that leads him to express his feelings. Douglass states, “I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!” (Douglass, p. 105). This is a highly pivotal expression of feelings not merely to the chapter, but to the entire text as it demonstrates the mental and emotional transformation that Douglass has undergone through this experience. It is notable in that it demonstrates that slavery did not simply exploit disenfranchised individuals, but systematically worked to break down and destroy their sense of self and will.
As Douglass experiences tremendous horrors in chapter 10, he ultimately resolves to escape. The process of Douglass escape is detailed in chapter 11. Douglass’ thoughts in this chapter are essential as they detail the stringent resolution he faces when confronting the challenges of escape. Douglass goes as far as to deride the Underground Railroad as being a short-term alternative that strengthens slave owners’ resolves. In a seminal quote Douglass expresses his feeling, “The wretchedness of slavery, and the blessedness of freedom were perpetually before me. It was life and death with me” (Douglass, pg. 122). This is a pivotal statement as it reveals the profound change Douglass has experienced throughout the narrative. Douglass has gone from an individual that has attempted to survive the abhorrent conditions of slavery to one that recognizes his freedom is his only choice. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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