The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

The Columbian Orator Symbol Analysis

The Columbian Orator Symbol Icon
After teaching himself to read, Douglass studies books that deal with oppression. He reads The Columbian Orator, in which a slave presents compelling arguments for emancipation. The book also includes speeches from the Catholic Relief movement in England, in which activists successfully campaigned for the removal of restrictions on Roman Catholics. These literary experiences persuade Douglass that the truth is powerful enough to overcome even the most bigoted slaveholder’s views.

The Columbian Orator Quotes in The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

The The Narrative of Frederick Douglass quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Columbian Orator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Narrative of Frederick Douglass published in 1995.
Chapter 7 Quotes

On reading The Columbian Orator: “The moral which I gained from the dialogue was the power of truth over the conscience of even a slaveholder.”

Related Characters: Frederick Douglass (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Columbian Orator
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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“The reading of these documents enabled me to utter my thoughts, and to meet the arguments brought forward to sustain slavery; but while they relieved me of one difficulty, they brought on another even more painful than the one of which I was relieved. The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers. I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery.”

Related Characters: Frederick Douglass (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Columbian Orator
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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“As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast.”

Related Characters: Frederick Douglass (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Columbian Orator
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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