Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The education of Frederick Douglass - a study of the narrative of the life of Douglass; An american slave
2001 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

Throughout this essay, I tried to show that like other refugees from slavery, who wrote their stories, Douglass has presented a seemingly objective account of his life. Thus satisfying the “master outline” of the great slave narratives, beginning with a title page including the claim “written by himself,” and prefaces by white abolitionists testifying to the veracity of the tale and the character of the teller. However, to deal with Douglass’s Narrative is to deal with the powerful role of literacy in his struggle to obtain freedom from slavery, a system that survived only because its victims were reduced to ignorance and illiteracy. Therefore, I insisted that by taking the brute facts of slavery and imaginatively manipulating them through a variety of rhetorical strategies to influence the perceptions and especially the emotions of his readers, this fugitive slave who from an early age learned to read and write, created a performing self. He made his own expressive language and not the program of abolitionists, the focal point and in doing so, he repossessed autobiography as a self-expressive, not simply a fact-assertive act. Knowing that not only slavery was on trial but also unfortunately the enslaved people was on trial, Douglass wrote candidly about his life as a slave issuing thereby a revolutionary declaration of personhood. Even after he had escaped to the North, Douglass recalls “I felt myself a slave”(326). It was the act of writing his autobiography and telling us how to read it that finally completed the process begun in Baltimore, and that liberated him from the role that had been imposed on him. And we cannot help remembering his master’s admonition in the beginning of the Narrative “learning would spoil the best nigger in the world”(274).

Abstract [en]

Throughout this essay, I tried to show that like other refugees from slavery, who wrote their stories, Douglass has presented a seemingly objective account of his life. Thus satisfying the “master outline” of the great slave narratives, beginning with a title page including the claim “written by himself,” and prefaces by white abolitionists testifying to the veracity of the tale and the character of the teller. However, to deal with Douglass’s Narrative is to deal with the powerful role of literacy in his struggle to obtain freedom from slavery, a system that survived only because its victims were reduced to ignorance and illiteracy. Therefore, I insisted that by taking the brute facts of slavery and imaginatively manipulating them through a variety of rhetorical strategies to influence the perceptions and especially the emotions of his readers, this fugitive slave who from an early age learned to read and write, created a performing self. He made his own expressive language and not the program of abolitionists, the focal point and in doing so, he repossessed autobiography as a self-expressive, not simply a fact-assertive act. Knowing that not only slavery was on trial but also unfortunately the enslaved people was on trial, Douglass wrote candidly about his life as a slave issuing thereby a revolutionary declaration of personhood. Even after he had escaped to the North, Douglass recalls “I felt myself a slave”(326). It was the act of writing his autobiography and telling us how to read it that finally completed the process begun in Baltimore, and that liberated him from the role that had been imposed on him. And we cannot help remembering his master’s admonition in the beginning of the Narrative “learning would spoil the best nigger in the world”(274).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. , 20 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53866Local ID: ENG D-11OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53866DiVA: diva2:1102426
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf