American literature has produced a variety of authors over the past 250 years. Some of these authors are able to write about issues that pertain to most Americans. Two such authors are Frederick Douglass and Mitch Albom. Douglass and Album, through the eyes of Morrie Schwartz, both teach their audiences how slavery affects people and the importance of self- determination.
The theme of slavery runs throughout Frederick Douglass’s autobiography. Douglass was a slave who suffered injustices at the hand of Mr. Covey. He used great detail in describing his hardships. He wrote, “Upon this he rushed at me with the fierceness of a tiger, tore off my clothes, and lashed me until he had worn out his switches cutting me so savagely as to leave the marks visible for a long time after. This whipping was the first of a number just like it.” Douglass shared his experience in order to persuade his audience that slavery should be abolished. He believed that no one should be owned by another person, but that each man or woman should have the right to decide the course of his or her own life. Although Morrie Schwartz lived many years after
Douglass, he felt that Americans are often in the position of being slaves. It is not the same type of slavery that Douglass did experience, but it is the slavery that we put ourselves under. Morrie believed that we are slaves to materialism and we are slaves in ignoring death. Morrie said, “The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has no perspective on what's really important anymore… Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works.” Morrie understood that Americans are so caught up in obtaining things that they are a slave to materialism. He also realized that by not thinking about death they make themselves in a half – awake state and slaves to not experiencing life fully. He believes, “ Why is it so hard to think about dying? "Because, Morrie continued, "most of us all walk around as if we're sleepwalking.
We really don't experience the world fully, because we're half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do." And facing death changes all that? Oh, yes. You strip away all that stuff and you focus on the essentials. When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently. He sighed. Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.” Both Douglass and Schwartz wanted their readers to