Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay examples

1380 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, aside from condemning the institution of slavery, also demonstrates the racist gender roles imposed on black people, whether it is a watered down version of masculinity, or an entirely nonexistent form of femininity. Douglass shows that black men are not allowed entrance to the constrains of masculinity, whether for survival or in an attempt to gain or maintain white sympathy, and black women are not viewed as feminine as their white counterparts, but often through fulfilling the same roles are demeaned. From the beginning, Frederick Douglass’s intelligence is qualified. In the preface, WM Lloyd Garrison finds the narrative compelling, despite Douglass’s upbringing: “Mr. Douglass has properly chosen to write his own narrative, in his own style, and according to the best of his ability, rather than to employ someone else… considering how long and dark was the career he had to run as a slave,-how few have been his opportunities to improve his mind since he broke is iron fetters-it is, in my judgement, highly creditable to his mind and heart” (93). Garrison devalues Douglass’s work by calling it “the best of his ability.” To say that someone has done something to the best of their ability means that someone else could have done it better. Also, to say that his work is credible despite his upbringing carries a similar connotation to saying that someone is intelligent despite being a woman.…

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