Analysis of the Autobiography of Fredrick Douglas
Essay title: Analysis of the Autobiography of Fredrick Douglas
Analysis of the Autobiography of Fredrick Douglas
Fredrick Douglas has been the most influential man of his time. He was a great example, not only for the slaves but for all men. We all know him as a fugitive slave, who has come to occupy so conspicuous a position, both as a writer and a speaker. His most famous work was probably his autobiography,” My Bondage and My Freedom.” Some critics attacked the book for being unauthentic, not believing that a black man could have produced such articulate piece of literature. It details the incidents of his experience on the slave plantation of Maryland, where he was born, of his subsequent escape, and of his public career in England and the northern States. The writer has very efficiently captured the view of the horrible pit of slavery. His main purpose is to persuade people in accepting the fact that slaves have no less right to be treated with respect than any other human. Douglas uses various literary techniques for accomplishing this purpose. We shall analyze some of these techniques including sensory details, facts, opinions, examples, and figurative language to understand what role they have played in making his work more affective or persuasive.

Douglass shares his experiences of slavery with his readers. He begins by telling them about his experiences as a born slave at a slave plantation in Maryland and later at the Baltimore Home of the Auld family. According to him this was the most interesting feature of his life. This was the time when his kind mistress began teaching him but was then checked by her husband and was ordered to stop doing that immediately. She was told that slaves are not supposed to be exposed to knowledge. This idea of slavery did not only shock Douglas but also disturbed her. He gives example that, “(in the beginning she used ) to treat me as she supposed one human being ought to treat another.” Here Douglass uses a simile to help make the situation more clearly to the readers. He says that,”She lacked the depravity of shutting me up in mental darkness.” This shows that being human slavery was not easy even for the whites to accept. He explains his state of mind at that time beautifully by using the phrase (simile), mental darkness.

He further tells that soon his mistress realized that this was the right thing to do, but still it was not easy for a kind woman as her to go through such a big change promptly. He gives another good example here, “She had to work to treat me as a thing destitute of moral and intellectual nature.” This example gives a more clear view of the state of mind of different members of society at that time and the affect of slavery on them. Another example given by him that is related to the same idea was, “It was not an easy matter to induce her to think and to feel that the curly- headed boy, who stood by her side,……..sustained to her only the relation of chattel.” These examples are very important for, they evoke a

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Great Example And Sensory Details. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from