Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Questions and Answers
by Frederick Douglass

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What are five themes in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave?  

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Frederick Douglass has several strong messages or themes to communicate in his narrative. He was writing to a white audience who often had misconceptions about slavery.

The first point Douglass makes is that slavery is cruel and torturous to slaves. While many white people thought the slaves were well taken care of, Douglass shows graphically how the slaves were brutally beaten, underfed, and degraded.

Second, Douglass argues that slavery harms white people by dehumanizing them. He notes how his mistress (slave-master) in Baltimore is at first kind to him and tries to teach him to read, but as she catches on to the social division between white and black people she becomes hard and cruel.

Third, Douglass contends that Christianity makes slaveowners crueler, not kinder. Douglass recounts his owner having a conversion experience and thinking as a result he might be freed. Instead, Christian theology about how slaves must obey their masters encourages greater cruelty.

Fourth, Douglass...

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