Chapter 1 Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave Analysis Paper

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This writing assignment is glimpse into the nature of American slavery. Please provide well-developed and insightful answers to the following questions based on Frederick Douglass’ autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845). His wrenching autobiography serves as an invaluable primary account detailing the aspects, mechanisms, and evils of American slavery seen through the eyes of a man who lived and escaped from it. When answering these questions, don’t simply rephrase or regurgitate Douglass’s words, but utilize and express your own. Five (5) point questions may be answered in two paragraphs and the ten (10) point question in three-four paragraphs.

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1. Explain why Douglass knows nothing of his accurate age. In describing the ways slaves understood or “related” to their biological parents, what does Douglass know about his father and describe the kind of relationship Douglass had with his mother Harriet? (5 points)

2. Douglass sees the first of many slave evils during the whipping of his Aunt Hester. According to Douglass, describe what kind of offenses or perceived offenses that a slave can commit to warrant brutal punishment or whippings? (5 points)

3. Provide a general overview of the kind of clothing, food, and living quarters that are typically afforded to slaves. (5 points)

4. How does Douglass explain the hidden meaning behind the slave songs? How does he correct what whites think is behind the purpose of these songs and what the songs actually mean? Why does Douglass feel “ineffable sadness” upon remembering the slave songs? (5 points)

5. Douglass provides stark information about the torturous and controlling nature of slavery. In other words, Douglass clearly shows the complete and absolute power the master has over his slave. What various episodes from his narrative does Douglass provide to reflect this power relationship? [Note: the master is not the same as the overseer, but you are permitted to describe the actions of the overseer in this answer] (10 points)

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