Structure of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Essay example

Submitted By maragretlynn
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Structure of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass written by Frederick Douglass is an outstanding piece of work. The structure of the narrative is wonderfully composed and relates to the agony that Douglass is put through. Enslaved people do not usually have education, therefor when Douglass writes a piece of work as thorough and intricate as this, people begin to talk. Luckily for Douglass, he has befriended respected people who attest to his writings and to that he has not received help with the composition, the writing, or any thing else of that nature. Although he was not the first to write a slave narrative (the first slave narrative was published in 1760, before Douglass was born), his writings are one of the most famous. Slavery was growing in the south rapidly and eventually spread over the states, some areas are harsher than others but slavery was prevalent in the states. Enslaved Africans were being sold in Jamestown, Virginia in the year 1619, thousands of slaves were shipped to the states, then sold to harsh owners. “Douglass’s narrative rises above its formulaic elements because of his beautiful structural choices” (Klein).
Douglass begins his work with a preface written by the respected William Lloyd Garrison. The purpose of this was to state that Douglass has written this piece of work and is well educated. Garrison was fond of Douglass and believed him to be “capable of high attainments as an intellectual and moral being – needing nothing but a comparatively small amount of cultivation to make him an ornament to society and a blessing to his race” (Garrison viii). This preface starts the narrative with authenticity that is reflected in the end of the book. As written before, the structure has symmetry to pull the reader back into current times (current times being the time of the writing). The preface begins in Nantucket in 1841: “In the month of August, 1841, I [William Lloyd Garrison,] attended an anti-slavery convention in Nantucket, at which it was my happiness to become acquainted with Frederick Douglass” (Garrison vii). Douglass symmetrizes this on the last page of his work: “While attending an anti-slavery convention at Nantucket, on the 11th of August, 1841, I felt strongly moved to speak” (Douglass 69).
In the narrative, chapter six and chapter 8 contain contrasting elements within themselves. There is an obvious theme that follows these two chapters. Chapter six begins with Douglass speaking of “my new mistress proved to be all