Douglass accounts numerous events of horrifying vivid imagery to display the cruel nature of slavery. For example, in chapter one Douglass narrates in grave detail how Aunt Hester was punished for going against the master 's orders. “He used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. The louder she screamed the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest…He whipped to make her scream, and whipped to make her hush (Puchner, Martin 519).” The second use of brutal violence in this narrative is when Douglass speaks about the overseer, Mr. Gore who he claims to be a grave man. He tells the story of a slave named Demby and Mr. Gore.
In the well-written narrative The Life of Fredrick Douglass, the author, and former slave known as Fredrick Douglass, uses multiple examples of brutal whippings and severe punishments to describe the terrible conditions that African American slaves faced in the south. Douglass’s purpose for writing this narrative was to show the physical and emotional pain that slaves had to endure from their owners. According to Fredrick Douglass, “adopted slaveholders are the worst” and he proves his point with his anecdotes from when he was a slave; moreover, slave owners through marriage weren’t used to the rules of slaveholding so they acted tougher. He also proves that Christian slave owners weren’t always holier, they too showed no mercy towards their slaves and Douglass considered them religious hypocrites. Like most southern slave owners Thomas Auld was a cruel master who always disciplined his slaves for their wrong doings.
These sorts of incidents happened to slaves throughout America and permanently scarred most slaves and their families. Slave owners not only broke slave families up, but they also tried to keep all the slaves illiterate. In the book slave owners thought, "A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. If you teach a slave how to read, they would become unmangeable and have no value to his master."
Since slave masters did not think slaves could assimilate to the American culture, slave masters kept them as workers; therefore, slaves were not given an education, leaving them illiterate, and thereby leaving them without any knowledge on how the American political system works. Slave owners thought that if slaves would become literate, that slaves would start to question the rights they have. Frederick argues that slaves l... ... middle of paper ... ... “Prior to [Captain Auld’s] conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for the slaveholding cruelty” (Douglass 883). This means that slaveholders use Christianity as a tool to show that they are good at heart and are doing God’s work, but they use it as a divine right to brutally beat slaves. This is what Frederick wants other abolitionists to recognize, especially the abolitionist women.
To be a slave meant to live a doomed life. Negros were not the only ones who were ruined by the institution of slavery, though. Frederick Douglass, an African American social reformer, leader of the abolitionist movement, and former slave, believed that the unnatural means of slavery had harmful effects on everyone within the institution of slavery. Although slaves faced physical, mental, and psychological abuse, slave owners were also degraded and ruined by the institution of slavery, because it distressed slaveholding families, caused warped forms of Christianity with unjust morals to arise, and reduced civil people to fiends through irresponsibility. Through his Narrative and his speeches, Douglass reasoned that if everyone within the institution of slavery was tarnished by it, then it must be unnatural, and therefore a threat to society as a whole that must be removed.
However, if you dig deeper into the real history of slaves in America, the stories won’t always be as peaceful. Slaves were not always purchased by someone with compassion. Many cases show these poor slaves being treated with quite inhumane practices. Those slaves were given no choice except to try to find a way out of their dismal and dangerous lives. It was that desperate drive for survival that led to uprisings against the white man.
Slavery has been a problem in many societies throughout all of history. It is not always out of prejudice or racism, often times people of the same ethnicity and nationality enslaved each other because of debt or some other reason. However in the instance of the African slave trade, it was without just cause and an extreme display of racism. Slavery in America was a horrible thing. Blacks were subject to overworking and humiliation by white men.
The book’s thesis is that the overseers and slave masters had a difficult time of managing slaves on the plantations. According to Franklin, slaves were very resistant to slavery and bondage, and some slaves would not stop trying to runaway despite the consequences. Franklin states, “The tensions, conflicts, and often violent confrontations between master and servant, or overseer and slave, have received less attention.”(2) White southerners refused to admit that slaves could n... ... middle of paper ... ... would not recommend this book to others. I would recommend Runaway Slaves to others because it literally has every reason or cause that a slave would run away; some you would never even expect or think of. The book broadens your view of slavery and shows you every opportunity a slave had to escape to the promise land; they would take it.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Illiteracy was an instrumental tool used to deprive slaves in an attempt to keep them ignorant and manageable during the 1800’s. If slaves were to learn how to read, they could in turn be educated. The oppressing class during this time period realized that if slaves were able to become educated they could no longer be useful, for it would be increasingly difficult to exploit their services. The ability to read was the white man’s power over slaves. Douglass, realizing the situation of his enslavement, took advantage of his privileges and began to secretly learn how to read and write.
Slaves endured many hardships such as being raped, beaten, and overworked by their slave masters. They were hardly considered as people to the white Americans. Slavery was ubiquitous throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. Slaves would get so frustrated with the abuse they received and would try to run away to the North, where African Americans could become free citizens. The North abolished slavery later in time because it wasn’t as dependent on it as to the South.