Personal experiences are bound to have a permanent effect on an individual’s life. Results of these unique undertakings can either be good or bad. Making life-changing choices is not an easy task, and people only get these chances once. Values that people hold are most of the time due to the experiences they go through. Emancipation is only achieved once an individual becomes aware of their true self and knows their worth. The characters in the two stories are both results of the experiences that they had gone through. Experiences may differ from individual to individual, and the consequences of these experiences may also vary significantly. Positive and negative effects can all be the results of the experiences faced by the individuals. Life-long individual experiences, therefore, make people change or make individual decisions that affect their lives in different ways.
Every individual has a right to enjoy the freedom and equal treatment; when one is denied fundamental human rights, they become disenfranchised. Both characters, Fredrick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, grew up as slaves and were practically denied fundamental human rights. Douglass re-counts that he could not get to acquire how to read and write as his fellow white lads did. Slaves were not allowed to learn how to read and write, and, thus, they were not regarded as human enough to learn (Mullane 30). Frederick narrates that he had to befriend many white boys whom he converted to become his teachers. Truth also describes how she has been mistreated as a slave, and she does not even recall what a woman feels like. Hard labor and even whipping were occurrences that she was used to. Growing up a slave was not an easy task, as explained by Frances.
These two individuals’ experiences shaped the values they stood for and made them become who they were. Frederick states that he spent every second of his free time reading a book (Douglass). He realized that slavery was a cruel act through this reading, which made him loathe his enslavers. The experiences that Frederick had with his enslavers was not so tragic since he could befriend some of the white boys. Truth on the contrary goes through a lot as a slave woman, and this experience shapes her to become a women rights activist. Having gone through the experiences she did, she believes women can do as much as men can and even more. “If the first woman God ever created was made strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again” (Buckley). Truth was clearly against slavery and gender discrimination, and this value was shaped by the experience she went through as a slave woman.
Having gone through these life-changing experiences, these two individuals had been changed. Frederick did not understand anything about slavery before, but after learning how to read, he knew more about it. Learning about what slavery was about led him to detest his enslavers, and he also discovered more about human rights and equality. Truth grew up as a slave, and having to work hard, she was denied her fundamental human rights and dignity. Experiences people go through as human beings shape their lives significantly and help to make life choices respectively.
Mullane, James Thomas. “The Road to ‘I‘Dentity in ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.’” CEA Critic, vol. 57, no. 2, 1995, pp. 26–40. JSTOR.
Buckley, Nick. “The ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ Speech Made Sojourner Truth Famous. The Version You Know Isn’t What She Said.”. Battle Creek Enquirer, 2020.