Before we can begin the autobiography, we must look at key characteristics that we will see in Douglass's narrative as well as other slave narratives we will be reading.

James Onley is an author of the essay "I was born: Slave Narratives, Their Status as Autobiography and as Literature" and other essays in The Slave's Narrative. Included is a list of components that are seen across many narratives written by slaves. Through this exercise, you will research these key components and answer the following questions regarding the importance of including these characteristics in Frederick Douglass's narrative as well as narratives of other slaves.


To begin, click James Onley's Components of Slave Narratives to see the list of key characteristics in slave narratives.     Read the characteristics Onley lists and be ready to apply your critical thinking skills as well as your knowledge of the time period to answer the following questions:


                                                   Question 1: Why would it be important for Douglass to include

                                          "Written By Himself" on the cover of his autobiography?




Question 2: We know that William Loyld Garrison was a friend of Frederick Douglass who wrote a preface to Douglass's autobiography.

William Lloyd Garrison

        A First, what is an abolitionist?

To define an abolitionist, click: ABOLITIONIST

        B. Secondly, who was William Loyld Garrison and what was his significance in history?

To discover the importance of Garrison, click: GARRISON


Question 3: Onley says that one key characteristic of all slave narratives is the author only specifies a place of birth, but never a date. Also, many narratives include a sketchy account of a father since many slaves did not know who their fathers were.

        Why would Douglass not have any official record of his birth?


Now that we have looked at the general characteristics of slave narratives, let's see how we can apply those to Douglass's autobiography.

Continuing on...Click HERE for the next page!


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