My Bondage and My Freedom

Literary Analysis of My Bondage and My Freedom 12th Grade

In My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass, the setting plays a monumental role in the development of the story, elucidating how an individual’s environment can be nurturing or detrimental to his or her moral development. Douglass describes details of the places he lived throughout his life and the things he experienced both as a slave and as a free man. Not only did setting influence Douglass’ moral development, it also affected his unique outlook on life, which led him to achieve amazing things against the odds for his time and place.

In the beginning of the autobiography, Douglass depicts his early childhood living with his grandparents. He describes how he is a slave, although he did not know it at the time, and how his grandmother is one as well. Despite their bondage, they live in a dwelling that is luxurious compared to most slaves at the time. The setting during the early parts of Douglass’ life is mainly beneficial to his growth (both figuratively and literally), but a constant undertone of anxiety taints his memory of this time. The setting is figuratively beneficial to Douglass because his grandparent’s house aided the growth of his morality. Literally, it was beneficial because a...

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