Frederick Douglas Literary Response

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Ingrid Hong Core 2 Literature Response Frederick Douglass Literary Response Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, written by Frederick Douglass describes the life of a slave in the mid 1800s living in the southern slave states of America. The theme of this story is to use knowledge as the path to freedom, use ignorance as a tool of slavery, and slaveholding is a forgery of religion. This story begins in the 1840s, when Frederick Douglass is born in Talbot County, Maryland. The narrative is a detailed, firsthand account of slave life and the process of self-discovery where Douglass recognized the evils of slavery as an institution. In my opinion, the narrative was very well written and it was a great resource when learning about the lives of slaves. Douglass’s Narrative shows how white slaveholders continue slavery by keeping their slaves ignorant. At the time Douglass was writing, many people believed that slavery was a natural state of being. Slave owners keep slaves ignorant of basic facts about themselves, such as their birth date or who their parents were. This ignorance robs children of their natural sense of individual identity. As slave children grow older, slave owners prevent them from learning how to read and write, as literacy would give them a sense of independence and capability. Slaveholders understand that literacy would lead slaves to question the right of whites to keep slaves. Finally, by keeping slaves illiterate, Southern slaveholders maintain control over what the rest of America knows about slavery. Slaves must seek knowledge and education in order to pursue freedom. It is from Hugh Auld that Douglass learns this notion that knowledge must be the way to freedom, as Auld forbids his wife to teach Douglass how to read and write because education ruins slaves. Douglass

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