|Plot Summary of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass|
|"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is the sometimes graphic but always stirring story of a man born into bondage yet striving for freedom. Sentimentality and romanticism of life in the 1880's American south is conspicuously absent from this work. Rather, Douglass writes with sharp clarity of the reality faced daily by slaves in the American south.
Through his use of vibrant yet unembellished prose, Douglass transports the reader into his struggles for daily survival, sharing hope and a longing for freedom. With directness and love of his fellow bondsmen, Douglass speaks of his early life.
The themes of time, memory, cyclicality, belonging, and the search for one's “place,” frequent in African American literature, resonate in this narrative. Born the child of a white father, possibly the master, and a black slavewoman, Frederick Douglass begins his story searching for a sense of belonging. He belongs fully to neither the black community nor the white community. By the time he is a year old, Douglass is taken from his mother, leaving him with no sense of family. The only group to which he belongs is the slaves. But within that group, there are many levels.
A repeated victim of dispora, Frederick Douglass must find one element of his life that can remain constant. From home to home he is moved, and gradually he learns to read. In this single act, Douglass sets himself apart from the mainly illiterate slave population, and his cycle of searching begins anew. His desire for freedom continues to grow, even as his various masters attempt to remove from him the spirit that gives him the courage to go on. To enable his fellow slaves to dream of lives beyond bondage, Douglass takes joy in secretly teaching his enslaved companions to read.
Eva Biediger, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Political/social rights fight
- minorities fighting for rights
Ethnic/Relig. of subject (inside)
ethnic of society (outside)
- American (south)
Period of greatest activity?
Subject of Biography
- a kid
- long lived adults
Biography of famous person?
How sensitive is this person?
- sensitive to others' feelings
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Average intelligence
- Smarter than most other people
- average physique
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 2 ()
- 19th century
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- moderately detailed references to deaths
Book makes you feel?
Commentary on society?
- justice system
- wicked white people
Writer's slant towards subject:
- very favorable
- very unfavorable
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of nearly entire life
- story of set of events during life
How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?
- 51%-75% of book
How much is philosophy rather than life story?
- 0-25% of book
Click here for more information about this book
Frederick Douglass Resident Scholar Profiles|
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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