This novel is the story of Frederick Douglass, and hes journey to becoming a freedman. Through the epic tales of his life a reader can see the utmost cruelty which was bestowed upon the slaves. This very honest and sad truth presents the story of American slavery. The story gives a detailed description of Douglass’ life in every home he served in. I am utterly amazed at the severe way he and so many other slaves were treated. What stood out the most to me in this book is the dedication and commitment Douglass showed to being freed. One particular quote stood out to me, “the more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my en-slavers….in moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast.” This struck me as very interesting because this man who hates the institution which rules his life regrets being above the rest and having deeper knowledge. This deeper knowledge is the same thing that drove him to break free and leave his slave drivers.
This biggest thing that I noticed, is the difference of city slaves and plantation slaves. It amazes me how different the two are and yet how similar they are. The plantation slaves are treated like animals, or even worse. On the other side the city slaves are given great freedom to find a job and help provide for themselves. This is almost worse, though, because then the slaves are seeing the freedom that is denied to them and only long for it even more. I believe this is what Douglass meant by wishing he were stupid like his fellow-slaves. Overall this reading only brought me greater sympathy for the enslaved and hate for those doing the enslaving.