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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

by Frederick Douglass
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How does Frederick Douglass achieve freedom?

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Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass is an argument against slavery. Douglass writes his life story after he escapes slavery in 1838. The book was published in 1845, when slavery was a prominent debate in the United States. In order to keep supporters of slavery from understanding he escaped and thus preventing others from escaping the dehumanizing slavery systems, Douglass does not give us specifics as to how he exactly gets to the North.

In chapter 11, Douglass tells us that after a failed attempt he is able to escape to freedom. He does tell us, using pseudonyms, about those who help his once he is free. For example, he tells us about Mr. Ruggles who helps him find a place to live and helps Douglass marry Anna, a free slave.

Throughout the book, Douglass explains the importance of literacy and education and credits his ability to read as a driving force helping him seek freedom. He describes tricking young boys into teaching him letters as well as taking personal risks later in life to teach his fellow slaves to read for themselves. He explains that slave owners purposefully keep their slaves illiterate not because they are by any means better than their slaves, but to control them and to keep them from realizing just how horrible their lives are.

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