What is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass really talking about?GIVE DETAILS PLEASE!

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems to me that Douglass' work is addressing what it means to be enslaved at the hands of another and at the same time what it means to be free for oneself.  This is probably where the most amount of relevance in Douglass' work can be found.  Douglass' work speaks greatly to the condition of enslavement at the hands of another.  The physical aspect is depicted in strong detail, but equally compelling is the mental aspect of being denied a sense of self, withholding the conditions of education and learning, and being subjected to a false experience of religion.  At the same time, Douglass' work details the arduous path to freedom for many who are victim to subjugation.  The quest to be free is something that is depicted in very painful and brutal terms.  However, despite this, Douglass' work speaks to the idea that this journey has to be taken and all must be risked for the life of enslavement and a lack of autonomy is not a life worth living.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are referring to the story as a whole, it is an autobiography of Douglass' life as a slave growing up, how he was educated, his attempts to escape slavery and his year at the slavebreaker Edward Covey's.

He talks about how he became literate, and about his life after he escaped to free territory. It was published in 1845, so it does not include his later years campaigning for abolition and getting elected to the US Senate.  He used this book to spread the word about the abolitionist cause.  It sold very well and is still in print.

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