Non Fiction

The book ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave’ by Frederick Douglas explores the events that affected slaves in the South of United States of America. This is essentially achieved by providing explicit history on the real life situations that blacks encountered in their pursuit to overcome racism. In order to achieve this Douglass provides us with personal testimonies of how life of an ordinary slave working in the farms was really like. Hence, the storyline of the book majors around his life from a first person point of view. In essence, the book strengthens the themes of racism, suffering, and redemption.

First, Racism was a critical problem in the South of United States as portrayed in the book. The fact that slaves were predominantly black among a white majority; they could not fit in well. Hence, most slaves would strive to be close to their masters in order to get significant favors. Douglass (2009) recounts, “These were esteemed very highly by other slaves, and looked upon as the privileged ones of the plantation; for it was no small affair, in the eyes of the slaves, to be allowed to see Baltimore” (p.22).  As a result, the treatment one received depended upon one’s discipline and attachment to the masters.

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Secondly, the struggle towards redemption forms another major factor covered in the book. In this respect, slaves always sought the most feasible and friendly means to express their discomfort with the system. In one instance Douglass (2009) observes, “…they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains” (p.26).

Finally, Douglass critically explores the theme of suffering with special focus on the day to day life activities. Douglass (2009) narrates that, “Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery” (p.27). These sentiments formed a critical component of the life of a normal slave. In the end, Douglass, who was also a slave manages to break free from these destructive bonds.

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