Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frederick Douglass


I would like to start of by saying that this is the longest piece of work that I have read in a while where they repeat themselves over and over.  I want to say that I think he makes some serious points that really makes the American mind think. In the beginning of the text he celebrates the "founding fathers" and talks about how wonderful and smart and brave they were. As I was reading I found myself thinking that he really is commending them in their actions and efforts. I was waiting for him to come out and say that he hates them and that they were all liars, but he never did. Well.. instead he just goes on and on about how brave they were. Then he presents a question to the readers that I believe is noteworthy, on page 8 right before he has the insert about the evil that men do he has a paragraph about claiming that so and so is "our father" and makes a reference to the bible and Abraham. He basically is saying that we call on our founding fathers and claim to "in relation" to them, but do not act as they do.

Then he starts the long process of talking about slavery. He poses another question that really makes one think.. what is July 4th to a slave? While we are all celebrating our freedom, slaves get to sit there and wonder.. well what the hell is really going on right now? Everyone is celebrating freedom, yet these slaves are living in this free America and aren't free.  At this point, learning about the history of America has really put a damper on my patriotism. Douglass uses his language and his skill as a writer to portray an America that is very hypocritical. Again, we are reading two different stories like Stowe.. Where in the beginning you think of happy things and happy endings then we are slapped in the face with reality.

Lastly Douglass talks about religion. He basically is saying that religion is just as to blame because they didn't do anything to stop it as well. He says to bring on the atheism, etc because it serves to confirm more infidels.

It all goes back to the nature of man and the American identity. The nature of man is clearly TERRIBLE. In this time frame America wanted freedom and made all these claims against "The British Crown" for being a terrible government then we turn around and put people into slavery.

Question: what does he mean by this on page 20: "To palter with us in a double sense: And keep the word of promise to the ear, But break it to the heart." He quotes this in his work.

1 comment:

  1. The sad thing is Liz is the eerie fact that these sort of things are still going on (with mexican americans, the GLBT community) though not on as broad of a scale as being slaves. Instead, it still lies in laws and rules excluding individuals from rights that should be an American right when you are a citizen of this country. It's why, though a victory for our country, the fact that New York even has to pass a law to allow same sex marriage is sad. I feel this still works well to American identity on the fact that there are still Americans that do not feel as if they necessarily belong or are as equally represented and given the same rights as other Americans.

    They say history repeats itself and its funny how often things happen, though slightly different, over and over again. If we are going by Douglass's speech, America is an older country now and therefore we should have learned from our past and our falters.