In the poem “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” written by Frederick Douglass himself, he has emphasized his ideas and knowledge about his birth and childhood in Tuckahoe, Maryland. The memories are all faint to him and he could hardly figure out his father’s image. He was separated from his mother even before he could know who his mother was (Eng). In his writing what was emphasized was about the separation of children from their mothers and that lack of proper understanding of age and paternity. He had explained that this lack of knowledge is most common among slaves (Wood). Most of the masters wished to keep their slaves ignorant about the information, so that the slaves devote their lives in service of their masters without any thought of personal relations or family backgrounds.
In his writing, Douglass has stated about all that brutal whippings of all slaves whether old, young, male or female. The early part of his writing emphasize upon the normal life of a slave child and that of his personal experience. It expressed how he lives his life as a slave child amidst other slaves around (Florence Marfo). The autobiography of Frederic Douglass emphasizes throughout his writing about all that he had gone through his entire life, and how he managed settling from one place to another. By the end of his Narratives, it is depicted about the vast transition in his life where he settles in New Bedford and was married to a woman named Anna Murray, but however he was still enslaved in Baltimore. At the end of his writing, having served his masters all his life he expressed his hope to positive and favorable possibilities in his life that can set him free from the slavery of his dignity.
With reference to the writing “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglas, some of the crucial points that have been made in it can be linked to the ideas and themes in the Hughes poem. Some of the ideas and beliefs of Hughes resemble that of Frederick Douglass. For instance, in the poem “Music” Hughes has connected himself to the painful history of African Americans. In the poem “The American Dream” Hughes had addressed the American dream of that life must be better as well as richer for everyone, with justified opportunity and achievements (Savery et al.). In the poem, Hughes had addressed this thought from the perspective of all disenfranchised of the nation, Native Americans, African Americans, poor farmers, and downtrodden immigrants. He had portrayed the glories of equality as well as liberty which are beyond imagination for these people, reflecting their trap under the fist of poverty, prejudice, and oppression. All their dreams are dead or forgotten in the path to mare survival. However, just like the Narrative of Frederick Douglass where at the end he emphasized his positive hope, similarly Hughes often end his poems on a hopeful note, thereby revealing his strong faith that African American would be set free one day so that they may pursue their dreams like others. Even in the poem “Aspiration” Hughes had explored his hidden dreams of setting free of African American slaves (Wood). Hughes is immensely realistic regarding the discriminating environment where he lived in, yet however he had expressed very firmly about his hope that a day would come when the racial discrimination in America would come to an end with a bright new morning for these slave people. With immense similarities to that of Narrative by Douglass, it can be identified that Hughes commonly created a narrative too which culminates within the protagonist reaching a level of self-actualization. Though difficulties existed in the surroundings, the common men would be able to seek inner strength so that they may survive all odds of the circumstances.
Thus, there is a deep and intense link amidst the Narrative of Frederick Douglass written by Douglass himself and that of the poems of Hughes. Both these renowned men had been victimized by the discriminating society that prevailed during their time. They had been forced to slavery by the Whites. Their childhood had been the worst anyone can ever imagine in one’s life. As they had faced similar social circumstances throughout their lives, their writings clearly depict every aspect of the situations.
Eng, D. L. 'Passed On: African American Mourning Stories (A Memorial)'. American Literature 79.3 (2007): 625-627. Web.
Florence Marfo,. 'African Muslims In African American Literature'. Callaloo 32.4 (2009): 1213-1222. Web.
Savery, Pancho et al. 'Teaching African American Literature: Theory And Practice'. African American Review 34.3 (2000): 525. Web.
Wood, Jacqueline. 'Enacting Texts: African American Drama, Politics, And Presentation In The African American Literature Classroom'. College Literature 32.1 (2005): 103-126. Web.
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