Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass is his story as an American slave struggling to become a free slave. Douglass" story supplies a more in depth look into how slavery was affecting him and other slaves from the victim's perspective. Establishing for the reader a history better understanding of the cruel/racial world of slavery. Difference is he informing and explaining in great detail his experiences as a slave.
The Narrative confirms the punishments and struggles that slaves had to endure from their masters; the constant beatings, separation of family, and poor housing facilities. Slaves were expected to stand, listen, and tremble when their master spoke to them. Fearing their master's wrath, when questioned about their master's treatment towards them, slaves believe "a still tongue makes a wise head"(Douglass, 54). They would rather cover up the truth than face the consequences of speaking against their master. Those who did would be sold without warning, "snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family an friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death"(Douglass, 54). Although, some slave owners did sell slaves for the extra profit.
As a slave, "to be accused was to be convicted, and to be convicted was to be punished"(Douglass, 56). To be a slave/black and accused of a misdemeanor despite innocence meant being found guilty. Since slaves were classified as inferior to white men and did not have the same rights, killing a slave was not murder. Justifiable reasons according to slave owners and overseers were that the slave was becoming unmanageable. It was illegal for slaves and African Americans to learn how to read and write. As mentioned in the Narrative, if slaves learned to read "it would forever unfit him [them] to be a slave"(Douglass, 64). Resulting with making them disgruntled and unhappy. The slave owner's view is that a slave "should know nothing but to obey his master - to do as he is told to do"(Douglass, 63).