Romanticism in Frederick Douglass Work

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Living as a slave under Mr. Coveyr’s authority, Frederick Douglass was horribly treated and receiving floggings at times. After having taken up the mistreatment for six months, he decided it was enough where he decided to approach the master to get protection. However, his master could not believe him and as a result, Frederick got no help. The fights between him and Covey as he states rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom.” With great significance to his pursuit for freedom, the statement points to the great desire to taste freedom and metamorphosis from “a slave to a man.”

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While his early history is not clear, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born in 1817 to a lineage of slaves who worked in a plantation in Tuckahoe, Maryland. He is known to have lived with his grandmother up to the age of eight when he was taken to Baltimore. It was when he was in Baltimore that his masterr’s wife, Hugh Auld taught him how to read which was against the law. The need to have slaves remain illiterate was seen as a means of furthering the slavery agenda among the slaveholders. To improve himself, Frederick gathered material and taught himself what he thought was necessary. With the increase in knowledge, he resented slavery and started developing escape means and managed his escape by disguising as a sailor in 1838 leaving for New Bedford in Massachusetts. It is some of these experiences that in a figure of speech describes as “I suppose I looked like a man who had escaped a den of wild beasts and barely escaped them.”

It was here that he worked as a laborer and later joined antislavery forces in the north. To disguise himself as a different individual, he changed his name Bailey to Douglass. During this period, he attended a convention on antislavery in Nantucket where he was asked to make a presentation. After his speech concerning his personal experience on slavery, he quickly rose to become a strong and famous voice on the abolition of slavery which touches on romanticism aspect of his work.

The figure of speech above demonstrates the courage and determination he had to escape the jaws of slavery. These aspects of his narrative depict the realism based on the time as well as the period it was written. The events in the narration are relatable and reflect the tough period in which African American were living at the time. Slaves lived in poor conditions, had no access to health care, and were not allowed to access education among other atrocities meted upon them (Stephens 133).

Romanticism in Frederick Douglass work is illustrated by various literary elements including the slave being a hero, overcoming hardships, the struggles as well as the mysterious settings that add drama and adventure. There are also the unexpected twists that also touch on drama and adventure as well as the horror and violent scenes that provide an appetite for sensationalism. Ultimately, there is a happy ending which helps the reader appreciate the fruits of the long struggle. Though Frederick Douglass may have not lived to experience total freedom and abolition of slavery, his contribution is counted in favor of the freedom. His immense contribution through active engagement helped in many ways to incense and provoke the desire for freedom among those still under slavery at the time. Without such mobilization, slavery could have taken much longer while the atrocities might have more dreadful. Collectively, the life of Frederick Douglass and his contribution makes him a freedom for slavery hero.

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Romanticism In Frederick Douglass Work. (2019, Jun 12). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from

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