Life of Frederick Douglass Book Review

1397 words 6 pages
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is written by the ex-slave Frederick Douglass and recounts his life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man. This edition is edited with an introduction by David W. Blight, an American History teacher.

Blight was born in 1949 and raised in Flint, Michigan. After achieving his undergraduate degree he taught for seven years in a public high school, before he received his PhD at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985.

After teaching at Harvard and North Central College, Blight was a professor of American History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. Blight was also a professor of History at Amherst College,
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Douglass frequently draws attention to the difference between his older, more experienced self and his younger self, referring to his ignorance and naïveté.

In narrating, Douglass seems to be very reasonable and rational, using a dry tone and not exaggerating.He also seems to be able to see both sides of an issue, even slavery. Even though he doesn’t excuse the slave owners, he tries to present a realistic explanation of how and why slavery works.He also seems very humane in the way in which he separates slaveowners from what corrupts them.

When Douglass is the protagonist of the Narrative he alternates between potent and mild characters. Douglass sometimes portrays his younger self as a unique individual and sometimes like any other American slave. As a generic slave, Douglass often portrays himself as simply a witness to events happening to his peers, which illustrates the general picture of cruel, inhumane characteristics of slavery, not just his position.

Douglass becomes more potent as the protagonist as the Narrative proceeds. The protagonist Douglass forms and reforms in such crucial events as when Captain Anthony whips Aunt Hester, when Hugh Auld refuses to let him learn to read, and the pivotal fight with Covey. Aunt Hester’s whipping introduces Douglass to the physical and psychic cruelty of slavery. When he isn’t allowed to learn to read he is


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