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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself Essay | Critical Essay #4

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Critical Essay #4

In the following essay, Zeitz explores how Douglass uses religious language and biblical allusion in his Narrative.

Frederick Douglass' Narrative, first published in 1845, has been described by a recent commentator as ' 'a consciously literary work, and one of the first order." While I suspect that few readers would challenge this view, surprisingly few have sung the work's praises in the annals of literary criticism. Although pioneering discussions of Douglass' use of agrarian and animal imagery, nautical metaphors, ironic humour, and techniques which create verisimilitude have established a firm base upon which further studies may be built, there is one area of investigation in which the groundwork has yet to be laid. This is the whole subject of the role of religious language and Biblical allusion in the Narrative.

The use of Biblical references and imagery would not have seemed peculiarly "literary" or learned to men of Douglass'...

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This section contains 2,806 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself Study Guide
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