Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Narrative... is the stirring account of a life in slavery, written by Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave from Maryland. It was written in 1845, and so was during the time that slavery was still legal in the southern states of the USA. It doesn't seek to detail his escape, unfortunate as that is as it would probably have been of great excitement, but Douglass gives his understandable reasons for this, his escape having come some 7 years prior to publishing and the details of which may have caused some troubles for those who aided him.

My main thoughts upon finishing this book are what disgusting cruelties were meted out to slaves, and what a complete disgrace slavery is in the first place. It shows how human nature can manipulate any situation (for instance, where Douglass states that of all the slave owners to be owned by, religious ones were the worst as they would quote scripture relating to the owning and punishment of slaves as necessary justification for their behaviours, and were the cruellest of masters), but also equally, how human nature can be moved to compassion and love, such as that evidenced by the abolitionists. Thankfully then, ones faith in human nature is not totally removed.

Narrative... is a somewhat sad tale, although it does have a happy ending. It is a first-person perspective of slavery in the south, and evidences the clear ideological differences between the north and south that would eventually lead to the civil war. Thankfully, the north won. Or else we may have many more of these accounts of slavery in print today.


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