Adeline's Reviews > Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
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Mar 02, 2009

it was ok

One of the functions of literature is to educate its reader or broaden their minds. Even fiction can have this effect, by opening one's mind to fantasy or alternate realities. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass serves to do both: educate and broaden.
The story allows the reader to grasp the realities of slavery which, especially for today's reader, feel very remote. By providing a first hand account of his experiences, the reader is right there alongside him, understanding the emotions and psychology of slavery. This is a literary text because it is written eloquently and presents a clear idea and story. The exposure it provides is just as important as its clear presentation of realities. By providing a relatively level-headed and detailed account of his experiences, Douglass gains credibility and the reader's trust.
Obviously, this text IS literary, because it is completely famous, very widely read, and “considered” to be so. But in all honesty, I don't enjoy it that much. I do, however, give it credit for being a much better read than a textbook on the same subject. Plus, the author is endlessly fascinating which perhaps also adds to its value as literature. Although it is often discouraged to read into the author's background too much, I'd say it is pretty safe to do so in this case. Douglass is a SLAVE who writes eloquently, intelligently, and clearly. That must have caused quite a stir when the book was initially published, as it turned on its ear all the accepted notions of slaves. This too is what makes the work literary- it makes a point, sparks thought, and possibly ignites change in the world.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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DavidO Why only 2 stars then?

Douglas Cootey I agree. That was a strong review in support of at least three stars. It seems your dislike for the book far outweighs your high praise of it.

David Are you saying this work was fiction?

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