Frederick Douglas Narrative

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Henkel, Michele A. "Forging Identity Through Literary Reinterpellation: The Ideological Project of Frederick Douglass's Narrative." Literature and Psychology Spring-Summer 2002: 89-101. Infotrac. Gale Group. 28 Oct. 2003 . Summary: In this article Michele A. Henkel reviews the account of Frederick Douglass' life as a slave and his escape in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Henkel points out that there are two kinds of elements found in this narrative, the actual delivery of the events linked together through the syntax of the story and, more importantly, the way in which the model of opposition is exposed. This structure works in that the intended readers, in this case abolitionists, are exposed to the dominant ideology as well as being closed off from differing ones. Henkel points out different aspects of slavery, the ideology of the institution as well as Douglass' understanding and interpretation through his personal experiences. Henkel proclaims that "Slaveholding . . . presented the ultimate example of hegemony" (93). She notes passages from the text that demonstrate the fact that Douglass recognized and understood the many techniques that the slave owners used to maintain power and control over their slaves. According to Henkel, the discourse of the narrative is the discourse of abolition and she relates how the writing style of Douglass is effective is this capacity; this includes Chrisitianity and several ways that Douglass uses it in his narrative, along with imagery, symbolism, and word play. Henkel makes reference to the fact that Douglass takes the role of religious man through his words. He uses quotes from the Bible as well as the portrayal of religious imagery and symbols. Henkel points out that "His style of writing is consistent with the style of abolitionist discourse; the structural repetition which Douglass uses is

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