Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Experience of a runaway slave

Frederick Douglass is one of the slaves who managed to escape the oppression of slavery. In his narrative, he narrates his experience from childhood to adulthood when he attained the age and wit of running away from the mistreating masters and mistresses (Douglass, 5). Among the alarming incidents he underwent include:

Majority of the young children born into parents undergoing oppression by the Europeans masters and mistresses knew nothing about their history. They could neither tell who their fathers were nor determine their birthdays. All of the children lacked the chance of enjoying happy moments with their mothers; this is because the whites ensured that they were separated from their parents when they were 12 months old. In his childhood, Frederick was barred from paying his deceased mother farewell. The narrator being a mulatto also faced the wrath of an envious mistress who overworked him regardless of his young age.

In his life as a slave, Frederick observed reasonless whipping of his fellow slaves and among the slaves whipped in his presence included his aunt. Some of the foreseers also enjoyed chopping heads of innocent women, an act that left the narrator in deep sorrow. Unfortunately, Frederick in his life learnt that the whites also preferred the health of animals to that of slaves. For instance, Mr. Hopkin punished slaves who had failed to take care of horses claiming that they had taken much time eating instead of looking after the horses.

In addition to the whites accusing the slaves falsely, they also involved themselves in merciless killings of innocent slaves. Among the persons that were killed falsely under the oppression of the whites include Demby the narrator’s friend and a cousin to his wife. Unfortunately, the whites went unpunished even after involving themselves in cold blood murders.

In order for the slaves to survive, the narrator expounds on how they involved themselves in food gambling. In addition, he also reflects on how he used to spend his night in a mill bag to avoid catching cold (Douglass, 37).

Narrator’s motivation for escape

Due to the lack of courage of continuing to undergo the oppression imposed by the whites, the narrator explains how he worked hard in order to escape from the slave land. For instance, the urge of the narrator to know more about himself made him seek appropriate measures to enhance the achievement of his plot. He involved himself in reading and writing to gain knowledge that could aid him influence his associates into supporting his hatred for the whites. The hateful description of the slaves by Mr. Aude also made Frederick develop the desire for escape from the whites’ oppression. In sum to his ability in reading and writing, the story by the Columbian Orator also played a significant role in motivating him into achieving his goal.

Feelings of Frederick about escaping

At first, after the escape from slavery, Frederick lived lamenting on the hardship he underwent hiding himself from being spotted by his enemies. He also expressed his loneliness in the streets filled with individuals of one color. Despite the challenges he underwent after escaping from the whites, Frederick expresses his joy by explaining how he loved freedom. In his narration, he explains how he had managed to do away with the oppressions he used to undergo under the whites (Douglass, 88).

Depiction of Northern whites by Frederick

According to Frederick, the Northern whites were not as oppressive as those found in the South. This is because he had acquired his reading and writing skills from the whites of the North. Frederick also expresses his gratitude and praise of the people of the West. As per his narration, the People of the West aided the slaves escape from the whites’ oppression (Douglass, 87).

Similarity of Northern and Southern slavery

As per Frederick’s narration, slavery in the North had some similarity with that of the South. This is because; slaves from both parts took part in working very hard to meet the demands of the whites. However, unlike in the South, the whites in the North did not involve themselves in merciless whipping of the slaves. The whites in the North also took part in instilling knowledge to the slaves, an act that was not practiced by the whites of the South.

African-American part of mainstream

African-American slavery might have been part of the mainstream. This is because of the oppressive moments they underwent under the whites. Their oppression has great similarity to the slavery at the South. The Black-Americans used to work tirelessly to meet the demands of the whites. In addition, the majority of the whites in America used to whip the blacks while working.

Works cited

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass. Boston: Published at the anti-slavery office. 1845. Print.

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Premium Papers. (2022) 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass'. 26 December.


Premium Papers. 2022. "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass." December 26, 2022.

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