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Essay Prompts for the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Answer one of the following questions in an essay of three or four pages.
- In Chapter 10, Douglass tells his readers that “you have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall [now] see how a slave was made a man.” How, in Douglass’ account, did masters reduce humans to slaves? How did Douglass make himself a man?
- Writing about Sophia Auld, the wife of his master Thomas, Frederick Douglass claimed that “slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me.” (Chapter 7) What, according to Douglass, were the several negative effects that slavery had on slave owners? In your answer, be sure to discuss not only the shocking barbarity of slave owners, but also the ways it perverted spiritual, political, and paternal values, among others.
- Frederick Douglass’ Narrative presented a powerful abolitionist message. How did Douglass write the truth of slavery in a way that undercut the positive depiction of slavery put forward by Southerners at the time of the Narrative’s publication? In your answer, make sure to give an account of the Southern depiction of slavery as well as the many ways that Douglass demolished that rosy depiction.