Gender Roles In Frederick Douglass

Words: 623
Pages: 3

Slavery and Gender The authors of slave narratives graphically describe the miseries they were forced to endure during their enslavement, entail their flight to freedom, and detail the ways in which newly freed slaves worked towards helping emancipate those still suffering in bondage. Each author illustrates a different perspective about life as a slave and gender is thoroughly intertwined in their experiences. By comparing Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave,” to “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” by Harriet Jacobs, the reader can discern that gender caused slaves to be treated differently which influenced the importance placed on family and knowledge. Douglass was torn away from his family at a young age, making it impossible for him to create any familial bonds. He expresses that he never knew his mother, “Never having enjoyed… her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care” (Douglass, …show more content…
Jacobs was given access to books and allowed to create strong ties with some of her family members, but this does not mean her female experience was easier than a man’s. Although their experiences were influenced by their gender, being one gender versus the other did not lessen their anguish, it only forced them to endure different agonies. Both authors give a vivid description of their experiences through a gender biased view and readers are only able to understand exactly how devastating slavery was to an individual, and a family unit, by examining narratives written by both genders.
Works Cited
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave. Oxford:
Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
Jacobs, Harriet A., and Lydia Maria Child. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1987.