What does Frederick Douglass do in his text to invite the reader to share in their experience? (Based upon his novel Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.)I am writing a paper and have no...

What does Frederick Douglass do in his text to invite the reader to share in their experience? (Based upon his novel Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.)

I am writing a paper and have no idea how to answer this question.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Frederick Douglass' novel, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, is written in a narrative form. Narratives are meant to tell the story of one's life. Given that the story is told from the perspective of the one who lived it, readers can assume that the author is not meaning to mislead. Instead, their purpose is to inform readers about their life, experiences, and perspective on their own life, what was happening around them, and why/how they reacted to life as they knew it.

Douglass' novel, therefore, invites readers to share in his life. Readers will become engaged for different reasons. African American readers will, assumedly, connect with Douglass based upon their shared history. Other races will, assumedly, connect with Douglass based upon their own humanity.

His tale is one filled with inner turmoil and prejudice. His hatred of slavery could easily match the hatred others had for the oppressive and violence slaves faced. Douglass, in the novel, states

I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privileges.

His novel speaks of his coming to understand slavery and his defiance against it. Regardless of one's stand on slavery, readers (most likely) have found a time in their own life where they could not understand something that was happening to them. Therefore, the novel speaks to situations in life which many can relate to (in one way or another).

Outside of that, the emotional draw on the reader is very heavy. The depiction of the life of a slave is saddening. The fact that Douglass presents his life without holding back, forces the reader to become part of his story (based upon their empathy/sympathy) alone.

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