Frederick Douglass's Slave Narrative Authenticity Essay

ROUGH DRAFT Storytelling has always been prominent among the human race ever since the oral tradition was established and the first written language came to be. It is not uncommon for a person to share their experiences, feelings, and thoughts through literature. The validity of these accounts often are not questioned. In 1845, Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Through writing and word of mouth, Douglass achieved international fame. Despite all of this, the validity of the slave narrative genre has come into question. Skeptics and naysayers claim that this genre of writing is fantasized, and use Olaudah Equiano’s narrative as a prime example. Although The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano has questionable history validity; Douglass’ writings have been affirmed by William Lloyd Garrison, a prominent American abolitionist, in the preface.

It has also been published and categorized as an autobiography. Accordingly, it is established that Douglass’ writing is non-fiction, therefore, it must be authentic. Being that the narrative was prefaced by William Lloyd Garrison, an exceptionally outspoken anti-slavery advocate, and author of William Lloyd Garrison and the Fight against Slavery, it would be almost impossible to claim that Frederick Douglass’ claims were falsified.

Garrison indited, “I am confident that is it essentially true in all its statements; that nothing has been set down in malice, nothing exaggerated, nothing drawn from imagination; that it comes short of the reality, rather than overstates a single fact in regard to SLAVERY AS IT IS” which conveys that he had complete and total trust towards Douglass (Which is a good display of character on Douglass’ behalf). Therefore, William Lloyd Garrison’s regard for Frederick Douglass does nothing but further prove the believability of Douglass’ auto-biography.

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The authenticity of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is also substantiated by the writing being categorized as an autobiography. As things go, auto-biographies are considered to be non-fiction. If Douglass’ writings were untrue, it would be relatively easy to disprove his written accounts because of all of the factual information required in order to produce an autobiography. Frederick Douglass is also credited with the writing of his second autobiography, My Bondage and My

Freedom(1855), and his third, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass(1881). The print is comprised of detailed experiences, places, people, and events that are historically accurate. Because of this, Douglass’ experiences are considered to be factual information. By the same token, Frederick Douglass’ first autobiography was also a published work. Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave went through the process of publication in 1845, and was ultimately published by the American Anti-Slavery Society.

In order to publish a non-fictional piece of literature, the piece must be—non-fictional. In the best interest of authors and publishers alike; it would be nonsensical to compose and publish a fictional text and write it off as a work of non-fiction. Considering that the memoir received publication status, it is established that the publisher did not see it as a risk to their good name, and that Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is authentic. In essence, Frederick Douglass’ piece is undoubtedly unbiased, authentic, and legitimate.

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave was not only published & categorized as an autobiography, but it was also endorsed by a high-principled source, William Lloyd Garrison. Many Caucasian autobiographies of the 17th-18th century are not besieged with criticism, such as Daniel Defoe’s Mother Ross: The Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, Commonly Called Mother Ross, on Campaign with the Duke of Marlborough(1740). It could be possible that the criticism of the slave narrative genre is truly a form of discrimination, rather than genuine mistrust.

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