The Trengths And Limitations In The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

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In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the hardships of slavery and the struggles faced to obtain freedom are portrayed. The narrative takes place in the antebellum south, when slavery is at its peak. This is significant because Douglass is recounting his first-hand experience during the worst time of slavery. Douglass gives insight to the reader about his experience and portrays the harshness and brutality of slavery and what slaves had to face throughout the course of their lives. This paper will demonstrate the treatment of slaves, societal relationships, and the control of slaves. The narrative will also be evaluated as a historical source and will discuss the strengths and limitations of the book as a source.
Throughout the
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With the narrative of Douglass’ experiences with slavery in the antebellum south, there are certain strengths and limitations of the book as a source. If all Douglass says is true, then the narrative acts as a valuable source of historic documentation, but the reader must consider the possible limitations of the narrative. Examples of these limitations include; exaggeration, a lack of perspective, and false statements. To try and discuss both the strenths and limitations, the reader must look at the evidence in the book to support both sides. Douglass talks from his perspective the entire narrative, so everything he writes about has to do with what he’s gone through and what he’s witnessed personally. Douglass names certain people, slaves and masters, which gives some certain authenticity to his writing if they are proven to be real people. “I have seen Colonel Lloyd make old Barney, a man between 50 and 60… receive upon his naked and tail-worn shoulders more than thirty lashes” (11), Colonel Lloyd was the Governor of Maryland from 1809 to 1811, and a very large slaveholder (, this gives some authenticity because Colonel Lloyd isn’t a random slave owner, but was in fact one of the biggest in Maryland. The biggest evidence to support Douglass’ statements in his narrative is his ability to give names of slaveholders, name certain places (ie. Baltimore, New York, etc.), and give not specific, but estimated dates of important events in his life. Due to these it’d be fair to say that what he writes is legitimate and credible. Although he may seem like a reliable source, it is still important to pick out certain things that make his narrative a little unreliable. Because of the circumstances that he faced, there is no doubt that he was a slave during the antebellum south, but is it possible that he might’ve over exaggerated some of the

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