A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass

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Possibility of a Better Life Imagine waking up before the sun rises feeling sore and unrested. You pull yourself together and start your daily duties with just seconds to spare before your master realizes you are late. As you begin your chores you cringe when you hear the crack of a whip followed by a sharp, painful scream from a fellow slave. You quickly distract yourself from wondering if there was a reason for the abuse or if it was "just because". The daily monotonous routine is taking its toll on your body as you stumble and accidentally break your master's tool. Overcome with fear you hide your mistake and continue your job. Hours later, still regretting your error you feel a hard blow to the back of your legs. Turning around you see your master yelling and swearing. You cover your face in shame and fear as you are beat until unable to move and covered in blood. Forced to finish your day's work every move you make is accompanied by agonizing pain. Finally, the day is drawing to a close and you stagger to your "bed". Closing your eyes you can feel your stomach turning in hunger and you pray that God will either give you the strength to continue or allow you to die. You finally doze off in a restless sleep only to wake up and to do it all over again. As awful and unrealistic as that sounds it was a reality for many slaves. Despite being harshly treated many slaves still had a positive and hopeful outlook on life. Slaves were treated like animals and in some cases worse than animals. Slaves were bought and sold at auctions and considered "property". They were examined along with the horses and pigs "holding the same rank in the scale of being" (Douglass 2002, 373). Many were not even given the luxury of a bed. A coarse bla... ... middle of paper ... ...ed being whipped has made you weary. The thought of freedom has seemed like a distant dream. By persevering and slowly saving anything you can you wake up and realize that freedom has become a reality. You actually made it! All the hard work has paid off. By keeping your head held high and focusing of the possibilities of a better future you made your life to be something few other slaves get to experience. There is potential for a much better happier future for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren. You get to tell your story. Douglass, Fredrick 2002 "Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave," in: Henry Louis Gates Jr. ed., The Classic Slave Narratives New York, NY: Penguin Books, 323-436. Prince, Mary 2002 "The History of Mary Prince" in: Henry Louis Gates Jr. ed., The Classic Slave Narratives New York, NY: Penguin Books, 250-322.
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