Essay about Narrative Voice of Frederick Douglass

914 Words Jan 23rd, 2002 4 Pages
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

The tone established in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is unusual in that from the beginning to the end the focus has been shifted. In the beginning of the narrative Douglass seems to fulfill every stereotypical slavery theme. He is a young black slave who at first cannot read and is very naïve in understanding his situation. As a child put into slavery Douglass does not have the knowledge to know about his surroundings and the world outside of slavery. In Douglass' narrative the tone is first set as that of an observer, however finishing with his own personal accounts. When first introduced to Douglass and his story, we find him to be a young slave boy filled with
…show more content…
Frederick Douglass' quest for freedom almost becomes a quest for the reader as well. The tone set during this section of the narrative shows Douglass to be much more in charge than he was as a child. A confident slave, Douglass anticipates his freedom, yet also creating a freedom for himself while still enslaved. It is at this time that Frederick Douglass learns one of the greatest freedoms of all. He is set free, in an educational sense. Douglass has been taught a few reading lessons form his mistress. Soon after his master discovers this, and commences the teaching at once. Soon thereafter, Frederick Douglass uses some smart tactics to resume his learning. He in a sense manipulates the children around him into teaching him how to read and write. This grand achievement taught Douglass something, as he says, "From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom. It was just what I wanted, and I got it at a time when I least expected it." Douglass has discovered a great new freedom and uses this new power to help plan an escape. The tone set after this gained knowledge shows Douglass as a more confident and clever writer. As the narrative soon reaches the end the tone has almost completely turned to focus on Frederick Douglass and his plan for escape. What once had been a narrative showing Douglass to be much like everyone else, has now transcended to tell the gripping tale of an

Related Documents