Essay on The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

1322 Words Nov 9th, 2016 6 Pages
Identifying a Community over the Individual
Specifically, in Frederick Douglass’s autobiographical book, The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, he characterizes his younger self as overcoming the label, an American slave, as a communal identifier, an identity inherited to him by slaveholders, and in turn, reciprocates self-taught techniques of personal autonomy back to the slave community. That is to say, Douglass observes and adapts his master’s power, namely his individualism, in order to deny his master’s power. Furthermore, when slavery is used to identify a community, the act of subjugation is less personal, and therefore moves the focus away from the individual and onto an entire group of people; as Douglass’s narrative introduces the audience to an adolescent slave, it becomes apparent that slavery has eradicated any awareness of individuality, since he does not know his own age. Instead, Douglass makes apparent his familiarity with slavery and its impact as an institution upon an entire community, asserting that the majority of slaves are kept ignorant of personal data that could, otherwise, provide a sense of identification. Resulting from this suppression of individualism, Douglass’s narrative persona derives from the fugitive slave who seeks to transform himself into the slave’s opposite.
Thus, The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, does more than just manifest the injustices of the institutional slavery, rather it practice personal autonomy…

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