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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 Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Slavery

Slavery is the big theme in Douglass's Narrative, since he wrote his book to convince people that slavery was wrong. You might call the book anti-slavery propaganda, but we don't think Douglass wou...

Education

Frederick Douglass believed that all people are created equal. But he also believed that we weren't just born free: we have to make ourselves into who we are. So education and self-improvement are...

Family

Frederick Douglass doesn't start out with much of a family. His father is probably his white master, or some other white rapist. He barely knows his mother: he only remembers meeting her a handful...

Suffering

It seems obvious to us that slavery was awful. But part of Douglass's journey, believe it or not, is his discovery of what slavery really is. When he is young, he doesn't really understand what it...

Visions of America

The American constitution was amended after the Civil War, but in the original version, not only was slavery legal, but a slave was counted as precisely three-fifths of a person. So Frederick Dougl...

Friendship

When Frederick Douglass is deciding whether to risk running away to freedom, he finds it hard to leave behind his friends. Many slaves, in fact, preferred to stay enslaved rather than leave their c...

Religion

Frederick Douglass's friends in the abolitionist movement were all extremely faithful Christians, but Douglass has some really harsh criticisms for slave owners who claim to be Christians. (Douglas...

Truth

Frederick Douglass makes a big deal of the fact that his narrative is true, and so do Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison in their prefaces. They all did this because they knew that people...

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