Reading between the lines : Frederick Douglass's allegorical Narrative
Johnson, Stacy Marie
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Frederick Douglass’s 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, depicts the life of a young man who survived enslavement by escaping to the North. Because of his vulnerability as an escaped slave, Douglass, at first, refused to provide names; however, in effort to further the abolition cause, he provides names and places to prove his tale to skeptical audiences. The names in Douglass’s text are true but contain elements of fiction due to their allegorical construction within the text. Naming, therefore, becomes a valuable key to social, historical, and genealogical readings of Douglass’s work and of nineteenth century Americans.