The Narrative of the life Vs. My Bondage and My Freedom

The Narrative of the Life, even though covering the same material as My Bondage and my Freedom are fundamentally two different accounts in the way that Frederick Douglass chose to convey identical stories. In my study of the two texts it appears that Douglass is more detailed and emotional in his accounts and struggles in My Bondage and my Freedom it is more passionate than the narrative and is described in such a delicate way that the reader is able to feel the chilling cold and the aching hunger through the letters on the page. For example as he does when describing his seeking refuge in the woods when Covey tried to attack him after a sever beating sent him running for protection to his master, master Thomas but to no avail did not come to his rescue and in result sent him hiding out in the woods, as he hid he says in such a descriptive tone “Well now I am clear of Covey, and of his wrathful lash, for present. I am in the wood, buried in its somber gloom, and hushed in its solemn silence; hid from all human eyes; shut in with nature and nature’s God, and absent from all human contrivances.” However in the Narrative of the Life Douglass refrains from such descriptive tones and instead without all of the colorful imagery says of his stay in the woods “ I spent that day mostly in the woods, having the alternative before me, to go home and be whipped to death, or stay in the woods and be starved to death.”. Also I might point out that the details centering around the relationships and his accounting with other slaves were not deeply described in the Narrative as it was in My Bondage and my Freedom the part that described his trip with Sandy to his wife’s home and the description of her and all the details were condensed in the Narrative as if it were not imperative to add the extra information for the audience.

            Of particular interest in The Narrative was that more of the slave master and not necessarily the slave. In this text we get to see more of Coveys behavior and more detailed descriptions centered around him and his influence on the slave system, in result Douglass’s voice is overshadowed by his descriptions of the system and omitting his feelings and opinions to an extent. He adds in this text that Covey was strong and would work next to his slaves until late hours of the night as well as the fact that Covey would spend most of his afternoons in the bed and would not come out until the evening however as stated previously this was not a part that he decided to add in My Bondage and My Freedom. The question now would be why the changes in two texts telling the same stories in two different ways? I personally believe that due to the purpose of getting the Narrative out to a wide audience to expose the slave system and all its dealings was the purpose of this text, and that people cared less about his personal feelings and more about the events that effect slave life on an everyday basis. In contrary I am lead to assume that MyBondage and My Freedom is more like a memoir of his personal feelings and how the salve system affected him and those he loved as well as a look at the system through not an objective eye but of that from a first hand witness.

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