Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Chapter 5: Commentary

This chapter includes much more commentary than do most other chapters. Why do you think this is so ? How does the switch to an emotional appeal help Douglass to achieve his purpose in this chapter?

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Douglass covers a lot of ground in this chhapter. He deals with is own early childhood experience as well as his siblings. Of particular not is Douglass's very emotional exploration of Christianity and what it means to him. He believes God has intended him to someday escape the bonds of slavery. He understands that there must be some interference from Providence to choose him from amongst all of the slave children to move to Baltimore where the events that allowed him to truly become "Frederick Douglass" took place. Douglass's own faith is contrasted to that of the hypocritical white southerners throughout the text; what becomes clear is that Douglass is a truer embodiment of the Christian spirit than the rapacious, evil, merciless, and false slaveholders.