What did you find to be the most surprising part of Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass?What did you find to be the most surprising part of Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are many elements to Douglass' work that could be seen as "surprising" to the reader.  For me, I would have to go with the courage that Douglass showed in the face of unspeakable cruelty and savage behavior.  For Douglass to not waver in his commitment to freedom and a life of dignity at the zenith of slavery in American History is remarkable.  Understanding the implications of being literate, Douglass does not hide his desire to read and write.  Understanding the implications of resistance, Douglass does not swallow his pride.  Understanding the implications of escape, Douglass does not retreat from the need to escape from slavery.  The level of internal courage that is needed for all of these is unimaginable.  Indeed, slavery is a part of the past.  Yet, one cannot go very far without remembering the struggles of people like Douglass who had to sacrifice so much for so many others.  This level of moral courage and the high level of ethical conduct is probably what I find to me the most surprising and inspiring element of courage in Douglass' narrative.

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