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

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How does Frederick Douglass establish his identity in the book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave?

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Douglass establishes his identity by describing his experiences as a slave while illustrating how steadfastly and persistently he rejected slavery's dehumanization and second class status. His outward identity might be that of slave, but inwardly he understood himself as fit to be free.

As Douglass presents himself in the autobiography, he always had a strong sense of himself as a worthwhile person. He takes advantage of what opportunities present themselves to him to better himself—for example, pursuing reading after his mistress stops instructing him:

The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers. With their kindly aid, obtained at different times and in different places, I finally succeeded in learning to read.

Despite his resourcefulness, some of his bitterest moments come when he realizes the magnitude of his enslavement...

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