American Identity In Douglass, And I Celebrate Myself

1523 Words7 Pages
The American person has no true ideals, or beliefs that make him or her up. Americans are free to believe in what they want, think what they want, preach what they want, and most importantly say what they want . Authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman show in their texts such as “Self-Reliance” , The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , and “I Celebrate Myself” that there is no true definition of the American identity. The American identity can be seen in the many aspects of peoples lives, and a a quality that many Americans portray is the ability to have individual thoughts and emotions as well as the capability to not conform to society because they stand up for their own individual rights. A…show more content…
Frederick Douglass was able to stand up for what he believed in because he did not focus on the negatives of slavery. He was not a so called “normal” slave because he focused on education, versus working, which is what most slaves were forced to focus on. Douglass even took his slave life to another level when he attacked his master, Mr. Covey , an act of defiance and standing up for himself. Douglass notes that “it was a glorious resurrection” that was from “the tomb of slavery” , and after hitting Mr. Covey he felt as if he were in “the heaven of freedom” (Douglass). Douglass beats up his master, a clear sign of rebelliousness as well as courageousness. Obviously, a slave is bound to his master , so when Douglass hits Mr. Covey it speaks a powerful message to the general public. He feels at ease, and almost free when he disobeys his master, a path which many slaves wouldn't dare to take. Douglass also was taught to read and write, a forbidden task among slaves as it could make them have status and plot ways to escape their masters, by Mrs. Auld, a former mistress of his. So when Douglass was “sent of errands” he always “took his book” with himself and “by going one part of “ his “errand quickly” he would find “time to get a lesson” before he returned to the Aulds household (Douglass). When Mrs. Auld taught Douglass how to read, it brought his perspective of life as a slave to a whole new level. He befriends the white boys on the street and has them teach him to perfect his reading and writing skills. This is showing Douglass’ non-conformity in two ways, the first is that Douglass is being educated, as well as he is interacting with the white boys on his street, both showing Douglass’ social differences in his society. While slaves non-conform to society to try and escape the terrible burdens of slavery,
Open Document