When an author decides to compose a piece of literature, the author usually has a purpose in mind for that piece of work. Whether it is meant to be for entertainment or to get a point across to the reader, the author wishes to reach the reader in some way. The preface of a piece of literature can sometimes be just as important as the story itself. The preface is often used to introduce the story ahead. However, the author of the preface may also have an alternative motive. Such is the case with the preface written by William Lloyd Garrison in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Garrison is in no way objective in writing the preface. Garrison uses this opportunity to put forth his views on slavery to persuade the reader to support the anti-slavery cause. While Douglass is simply stating facts about slave life, Garrison is expressing his anti-slavery views to influence the reader.
Frederick Douglass wrote his narrative with the goal of exposing the life of a slave, namely himself. Through his shocking account of slave life, Douglass hopes that the reader will change their views toward slavery and help in the fight to end slavery. Throughout the narrative, Douglass gives details to the life he lives and explains to the reader the way a slave is treated and the way they are expected to live. First of all, slaves are separated from their mother at birth by their owners (Douglass, 48). This is done to break them down emotionally and eliminate their sense of family. Without knowing who one's mother or father is, the only person a slave knows to take orders from is their owner. They have no sense of heritage because they only know about being a slave. This is all part of the owners" plan to keep the slaves ignorant (47). Slaves are given little food to live on for the month and clothing to wear for the year. It is not uncommon for children to go hungry or walk around naked (54).