Frederick Douglas

Book review and a side note to my detractors.
Written by TyroCharm
June 12 2014

I was captivated by the gentle and explicit eloquence by with which Frederick Douglas wrote his memoirs. Usually I don’t engage in sad, gruelling and gut wrenching videos or stories that depict real life. I’m demoralized by the feeling of impotence that comes with the amount of tragedy that is depicted. It overwhelms me and I become depressed.

Now, you may think that I’m one of those individuals that turn a blind eye to the sufferings of the world in order to live a comfortable life, well, how about this:
– You go and take your elderly neighbor to the market two or the times a week. Take her to do errands. With no family of her own to help her daily, go ahead and pay fort her groceries when seldom she forgets the pin number to her ATM card. It is a problem when she insists on using cash alone.
– You could also drive around those neighbors of yours whose car was recently repossessed. Being disabled due to a work related accident and unable to recover neither physically, nor
financially, how about you sit with them in the afternoons to offer words of comfort regardless of how depressed and negative they may seem.

– Better yet, I’m sure there are plenty of kids in your community, maybe even friends of your kids, that you could sponsor to do fun activities or go on field trips. Help those children who otherwise would sit at home all day because their parents, as hard as they work, don’t make enough money to spare on things that are not of great necessity.
While, in your opinion, I may turn a blind eye to the sufferings of the world at large, I like to focus on what I can do in my surrounding community. I could spend $30.00 a month to support a global cause of goodwill, but I rather use all of the money available for help, instead of 60, 70 or even 90% of these donations, to alleviate the real need of someone I know that could benefit 100%.
Now that I got that out, let’s proceed with the topic at hand.

I would like to turn your attention to the vivid imagery that Mr. Douglas uses to depict the days when he was a slave.

He recounts, with no few words, the grueling feelings of rage, impotence and mostly fear, that where part of his daily life. He witnessed horrific crimes committed against defenseless people. He experienced himself a number of degrading and cruel hardships. However, his storytelling is compelling because in the mist of all this tragedy, he chose to rise above a bitter and vindictive point of view.

When Frederick Douglas describes in detail the atrocities that he experienced and witnessed, he uses vivid but sublime expressions. His vocabulary is explicit, but the eloquence with which he dispenses it, elevate his writings to a griping but delicate tale.

Reading Mr. Douglas’ autobiography, what most appealed to me was what I thought to be a good balance between two issues at hand. On one side he showed, as expected, the kind of sympathy for fellow slaves that you can only acquire when you have been part of their plight. On the other hand, I admired the tone of acceptance and differential sympathy that he showed towards the prevailing and perverted ignorance of slave masters and owners. He pointed out that those particular circumstances were the worst result of practicing slavery. While slaves suffered greatly, it was the owners’ soul that rotted away with the worst of mankind’s shortcomings such as cruelty, bitterness, lack of compassion and a total disregard for humanity.

Frederick Douglass was a master of gentle and approachable rhetoric who could bring a gruelling account to a level of pathos that everyone could relate to.

I thoroughly enjoyed his writings. While engrossed in this reading, I felt a sense of comfort from his tone of serenity and unlike his detractors, his educated perspective. I was also humbled by the author’s determination to learn and educate himself despite severe obstacles and an utter lack of resources.

As an example of what eloquence can do to portray real life experiences, this book is an outstanding example in excellence. As a reminder of historical events that should never be forgotten, Frederick Douglas’ memoirs are priceless.

 

=)

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