Of all the authors and activists for emancipation from slavery, Frederick Douglass is one of the most well known and respected. In his autobiography, ‘Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave’, this slave turned anti-slavery activist turned diplomat chronicles his life from when he was born up until the time he was 27 or 28 years old when he wrote the book. In it, he describes the harsh life that he and other slaves underwent at the hands of their cruel masters.
Nonetheless, Douglass had one redeeming quality, which was that he learned how to read and write. The knowledge that he acquired because of his education raised dissatisfaction in him about his state in life, and made him long for much more than a life of slavery could give him. Thus, he escaped from his master and started a new life on his own, a life that made him into one of the greatest Americans of his time. This essay thus looks at this great life, and how the knowledge he acquired enabled him to reject a life of pain and hardship. It also looks at how it made him long for and ultimately seek a life that offered more promise than the one he was living.