Book review on the Life of Frederick Douglass

Length: 3 Pages 625 Words

Frederick Douglass was born a slave but through luck and perhaps divine intervention was allowed to live a life far different than his brethren. The tone of the book is that of a free man, instead of saying he was sold or sent to new masters he uses the euphemism “went to live with…” as if he were free in his own mind although he was still under the control of another. The overall theme of the book is neatly stated in the introduction “…its thematic strategy of linking freedom and literacy.” The book describes in detail the horrors of slavery and his increasing desire to be free as he taught himself to read and write and by reading such books as “The Columbian Orator”. To make a person a slave there are several things that must be done that Douglass sees happening to maintain the slaves. One is to make the slaves think of freedom as terrible. Another is to keep the slaves too busy and helpless to even think Continue...

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Although not all people share these beliefs, I think it may be because they have neither read Douglass' book or have the complexity of thought to discern what is right or wrong themselves. Lastly, making slavery seem right to the slaves is beneficial so there is no feeling of rebellion. about the inappropriateness of their condition. Seeing freedom as terrible is something that we in America the land of the free have difficulty comprehending since our society hinges upon it. During this time Douglass began to lose sight of his goal of becoming a free man and began to think less and less about it as the drudgery wore on. Seeing the selling of their friends made the slaves conceal their feelings of discontentment even more. When he was moved back to his master's house he realized this was the case and determined to become free once more. For example, the masters would ensure that plenty of drinking took place to facilitate harmful behavior. If a slave complained he or she was sold off to ensure that no seeds of rebellion were planted. Slaves would not speak up about anything wrong to anyone because the masters would set the people up and ask questions about how things were. Douglass had a similar experience himself. The book refreshed in my mind the terribleness of slavery. Part of the thoughtlessness that was necessary for slave labor was causing the people to think that slavery was right, and to not detect any consistency. The helpless condition was deepened by many of the slaves not having the spirit to think about their condition and what was wrong with it.


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