Frederick Douglass creates tension in life and times
McAuley, Sean Joseph
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In his autobiography Life and Times, Frederick Douglass promotes logic, responsibility and moral accountability. By exonerating his former owners, however, Douglass contradicts these foundations, thereby creating an unresolved philosophical conflict between free-will and determinism. The conflict reveals an overarching struggle between Douglass’s consciously constructed rational identity and the unconscious emotional one. The source of the struggle is located in his desire for family. Finally, the combination of the two identities elevates the human quality of the text, thereby allowing Douglass to succeed in his mission to inspire his people.