Fredrick Douglass’s Slave Narratives

Spread the love

History 1301 By student

Fredrick Douglass was raised in 1818 where, until 1838, he encountered poverty and its effects.

From the time when he escaped, he was determined to explaining to people on the horror encounters of slavery. While still young, Douglas realized that through education, one would know the human rights and thus escape from slavery.

On one occasion the mistress came to the lady and said that Douglas would study and it was difficult to keep him through education. The master’s phrases gave him the desire to know how to learn and compose.

Eventually, he got freedom and studied, that gave him the opportunity to educate people on the harmful nature of slavery. More so, he was able to narrate the story as one of the slaves.

The first piece he wrote was in 1845 when the eloquence was most doubtful because an ex-slave was supposed to not compose it.2 However, he became after some moment the best seller.

He created abolishing journals supporting human rights when Douglas moved to America. By using images, tones and viewpoints that created the narrative one of the finest in slavery, Douglas could communicate the rough reality about slavery to the crowd.

Firstly, Douglass conveys the message of humanity through family ties that he and the other slaves were denied. The concept is learned in the first chapter of his book. He says that slaves are separated from their mothers at birth.

Douglass, for instance, uses the terms ‘ tender ‘ and ‘ soothing ‘ in order to show how he would have lived if his mother had been with them.3 Douglass also took part in the mother’s grave and acted as he would if a stranger had died.

In that case, Douglass wants the audience to understand that developing family ties is important to every human being; otherwise one would treat them like strangers.

Douglass also communicates humanity through the music he and other slaves sang. He claims that during shifting to job fields they used to perform several tunes. The understanding of the music among slaves and masters was however distinct and it is a sin that inhumanity is portrayed in this situation.

According to the bosses, the songs showed happiness in slaves and satisfaction. However, slaves sang them when they were in deep torture and harassment. This is to say that masters thought the songs meant joy while the slaves showed sorrow. The other aspect to note in this case is the literal and deep meaning of the songs.

While masters did not understand the meaning, slaves got the literal message of the songs. However, the deep meaning would not beget, until one moved outside the group like Douglass.

He used analytical instruments after fleeing, for instance, to gain the greater significance that he articulated in the novel. It was natural that teachers discovered the significance of the music, but assumed they were happy.

There is also the aspect of literacy through education. The incidence involves Hugh and Sophia, where Hugh prevents her from guiding Douglas into education.

As mentioned above, Douglass is not working as a slave efficiently while being trained. However, Douglass created the desire to explore when he heard the alert discussions, as he realized that black individuals prevented Black individuals from studying and remained a slave to them. In addition, Douglass had two explanations to write.

First, he did not know that slavery was one of the elements of culture since whites used it to dehumanize the blacks. Although he was at birth separated from his mother and thus didn’t know what culture wants, Douglas realized that slavery did not describe society.

The other reason for his determination is that he knew the only way to save himself from the horror experiences was through education. Apart from that, the scene shows that Douglass minded the human rights of the males than the females. However, in the later endeavors, he showed respect to all human rights and advocated for them.

The human aspect that Douglass wants to show the audience, in this case, is education. According to him, it is education that equalizes the white and the blacks, preventing the whites from dehumanizing the blacks. In fact, were it not for education, Douglass would not have been saved from slavery. The education did not only save him from the place but also gave him the chance to inform people about the nature of slavery.

Also, there is the issue of the process taken as one becomes a slave. Based on Douglass experience, he encounters the real issue after meeting with Edward Covey.

One of the most remarkable factors about the encounter is that he trusts other than the physical, the emotive and mental impacts of the meetings. Edward shut his mind to him with deeds of slavery, which he forgets the vision of educating himself until he realizes that education is the only route to achieve liberty. In addition, the method was too hard for him to leave the location.

The humane message in this chapter is on freedom, where Douglass and other slaves wished to get. It is not human destroying emotional and spiritual aspects of people that have long-term effects on them, for personal benefits. Though Douglass discovered the truth, it is not all slaves who did so, meaning that most of their dreams had been killed.

Finally, based upon his and other slave experiences, various ways are used to transmit humanity to the public. The first is a detachment from the household, which allows owners to do not control the conduct of slaves by ensuring either link or alignment.

The aspect of songs is also used where masters develop different meaning from that meant by the slaves. Education is also discussed, where the white does not want the blacks to get an education, as it would enlighten them. Finally, there is a lack of freedom, which leads to the emotional and spiritual torture of the slaves.


Andrews, William L. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845). In Classic American Autobiographies, by Fredrick Douglass, 233-323. New York: Mentor, 2014