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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

by Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Analysis

Literary Devices in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

When Douglass is at his lowest point – when Covey has beaten him into submission and he is, for all intents and purposes, broken – he looks out onto the Chesapeake Bay and is suddenly s...

Setting

Douglass is born on a huge slave plantation in rural Maryland, one of hundreds of slaves. When we think of slavery, we usually conjure up an image of the Deep South, or the "Old South," places like...

Narrator Point of View

Douglass's narrative is, as the title page tells us, "Written By Himself." He's the book's main character – almost the only character – so most of the narrative is just him talking to u...

Genre

Technically, Frederick Douglass's book is an autobiography. After all, it's the story of his life from the time of his birth to the time he wrote the book, in 1845. But it also has a lot of importa...

Tone

How can Douglass's tone be both cool/reserved and angry/emotional? Well, overly emotional narrators don't always come across as reliable. Since Douglass wants to convince us that he's just telling...

Writing Style

Although Douglass's language may seem a bit stilted to us today, his style is usually pretty straightforward. He wants you to understand him, so he doesn't write long or complicated sentences, and...

What's Up With the Title?

The full title of this book is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself. Pretty straightforward title, right? Frederick Douglass was a slave, and this is g...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending isn't really a surprise. You must have figured out that the book would end with Douglass getting his freedom, right? Plus, even if you didn't, Garrison's preface gives it away. So it's n...

Tough-o-Meter

Tough-o-Meter gives Douglass's narrative a 4. Douglass tries his best to keep his book easy reading, but he sometimes has a tendency to get a little long-winded and preachy, and he often uses langu...

Plot Analysis

Douglass is born a slave and has to figure out what that means.Douglass wrote this book to show people what slavery was like from the inside. He takes his readers into the mind of a child who is tr...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Douglass is born a slave and begins to realize that a slave is a terrible thing to be.OK, so slavery isn't literally a monster, but bear with us here. As a child, Douglass doesn't know his parents,...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Douglass is born a slave and spends his childhood discovering what it is to be a slave. At first, he only sees terrible things happen to others, like his Aunt Hester.As Douglass gets older, he star...

Trivia

When Douglass published his Narrative, he became an instant celebrity – but for all the wrong reasons. Since he was still legally a slave in Maryland, he knew he could be kidnapped back into...

Steaminess Rating

There is almost no sex in this book. Douglass mentions that slave masters would sometimes rape their slaves, but he doesn't go into any detail. And even though he sort of suggests that Aunt Hester...

Allusions

William Shakespeare, Hamlet (10.25): "rather bear those ills we had, than fly to others, that we knew not of." Richard Sheridan (7.6)John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Farewell of a Virginia Slave Mothe...
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