The Purpose of Gaps in the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" Analytical Essay by scribbler

The Purpose of Gaps in the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"
An analysis of the purpose and impact of the gaps within Frederick Douglass' biography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass".
# 153466 | 1,278 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US


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Description:

This paper examines why Frederick Douglass' biography purposely eschews the articulation of certain critical details about the narrative and its author and discusses the sense of mystery, wonder and intrigue this creates for the reader. Furthermore, the paper explains that the notion that there are certain horrors that are too powerful to be articulated into words is an incredibly compelling aspect of the narrative and thus, the gaps give this work more credence, more credibility and more authority. The paper concludes that what makes this work a seminal work in American literature is its way of building authority, authenticity, and an empathetic experience for the reader by purposely omitting details and facts about Douglass's life.

From the Paper:

"In his essay "The Writing of the Narrative" William S. McFeely addresses the apparent voids or gaps within the narrative, he states in reference to not just Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, but to all of Douglass's works, "In all three of his autobiographies, Douglas tantalizes us with the many things he leaves out, not the least of these is the discussion of why and how he wrote them" (McFeely 134). Here the reader gets a sense of the appreciation McFeely has for the gaps in the autobiographies, that there is a sense of mystery and mystique that these gaps create for the reader, a sense of wonder and intrigue. This is certainly true. As it is sometimes what is left unsaid that has the greatest resonance.
"The unanswered why and how questions force the reader to think critical about the texts, but in addition to those speculative inquiries concerning the construction of the narratives as a whole, there are certain spots within the texts of all three, but in particular, in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass where Douglass is deliberately unclear. For example, the scene in which McFeely aptly points to, where Douglass references the negro spirituals, "leaving home... they would sing, as a chorus, to words which to many would seem unmeaning jargon, but which, nevertheless, were full of meaning to themselves" (Douglass 135)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written By Himself. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. William L. Andrews and William S. McFeely. New York: W.W. Norton Company, Inc., 1997. Print.
  • McFeely, William S. "The Writing of the Narrative." Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written By Himself. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. William L. Andrews and William S. McFeely. New York: W.W. Norton Company, Inc., 1997. 133-135. Print.
  • Stepto, Robert B. "Narration, Authentication, and Authorial Control in Frederick Douglass' Narrative of 1845." Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written By Himself. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. William L. Andrews and William S. McFeely. New York: W.W. Norton Company, Inc., 1997. 146-157. Print.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Purpose of Gaps in the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" (2013, June 04) Retrieved August 22, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-purpose-of-gaps-in-the-narrative-of-the-life-of-frederick-douglass-153466/

MLA Format

"The Purpose of Gaps in the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"" 04 June 2013. Web. 22 August. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-purpose-of-gaps-in-the-narrative-of-the-life-of-frederick-douglass-153466/>

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