Friday, July 10, 2009

A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, 66/81, 2nd round

A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass, historical category

This is the short biography of Frederick Douglass. He writes about his life as a slave, how his mother died, how he learned to read, how he was beaten and starved, and how he decided to escape. He enlarged on this story later, but in this version of the story, he doesn't give any details of his flight to freedom. But you certainly get a vivid and horrible picture of slavery. I thought his words about the religious hypocrisy of his former masters was especially illuminating.

After reading this, I was surprised really that more slaves did not make the attempt to escape. He says that he never had any idea of escape until after he learned to read and realized what else was out there in the world. That may have been one reason. Douglass himself says that he almost changed his mind when he realized that his escape would mean the loss of contact with all his friends. I'm sure that such ties to friends and family was another reason that most slaves stayed put.

After reading this, I was motivated to read more about Douglass and what happened to him after he wrote this book. He was a very eloquent, even passionate man fighting for the cause of freedom and equal rights for both women and for slaves. This is a great story for young people to read, as it would help them understand how brutal slavery really was. Also important today, when there are still horrible acts of violence and injustice all around the world.

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