The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave was a bibliography written by Frederick Douglass himself that told of his experiences of being a slave in the United States. He expresses the brutality the slave owners and how he struggled with running away to become a free human being. The themes of his story include: the ignorance of slaves, the treatment of slaves as property, religion used as justification, and the abuse of female slaves. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick explains the slave owners want to keep their slaves as ignorant and illiterate as possible because the more knowledgeable a slave becomes the more “unmanageable” he will become. He will start to develop ideas on his own and question the authority of his masters.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was a catalyst for the Civil War due to its depiction of slavery as harsh and brutal. The main character, a slave named Uncle Tom, and one of the slave owners, Simon Legree were used to attack the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the institution of slavery that it protected. Throughout the novel, characters, scenes and plots were Stowe’s persuasions to the reader that slavery is evil, un-Christian, and should not be tolerated. She illustrates the fact that slavery and Christian values oppose each other and are not in any way compatible. Uncle Tom’s Cabin outraged the southerners and made the northerners more aware of the brutality of slavery.
Douglass no longer found solace in her presence but inst... ... middle of paper ... ...ce, Mr. Hopkins allows the demonic practice of slavery to influence his actions. Through the insincere actions of the preaching slaveholders, it becomes evident that the need to assert one's dominance over slaves results in the degradation of moral judgment. Douglass characterizes the cruelty slave owners hold over the slaves. The harsh treatment of slaves results from the need to establish the master's influence and power over the slaves. Through the depictions of Mrs. Auld, Mr.
Douglass states how being a slave owner was harmful to the owner’s moral sense of health because it is unnatural for a human to own another human/ humans. He informs his audience of the horrendous behavior of a typical slave owner. He depicts his memories of how they slave owners and watchers used to whip, rape and vocally demean slaves. For example, Douglass gave the readers of the corruption of slavery was a slave owner named Sophia
Douglass believed that since Auld obtained slave owning from marriage, it made him more of an unpleasant master because he wasn’t used to being around slavery and having so much power. Fredrick Douglass also was convinced that religious slaveholders were false Christians because they became more self-righteous and thought that God gave them the power to hold slaves. By telling stories to the reader, Douglass hoped to bring awareness to the harsh subject of slavery and show how the slaves kept hope during these miserable times.
In the narrative Douglass shows us how slave owners and their sympathizers described blacks in terms of negative stereotypes to justify treating them as property. These stereotypes provided the foundation for the mythology of the plantation. Slave owners liked to think of themselves as the masters and even father-figures of a class of inferior, childlike people who could not survi... ... middle of paper ... ...her former slaves struggled hard to reclaim the right to define his own identity. To name himself was a huge accomplishment, carrying with it the right to tell his own story. Therefore, by him establishing his own identity on his own terms he catapulted his career as an abolitionist and his own claim to freedom.
Frederick Douglass illustrates in “My Bondage and My Freedom” how slaves were psychologically and socially oppressed. From the beginning of the life of the slave, he and/or she, is psychologically manipulated to believe that slaves belong to an inferior class of humans. Frederick Douglass explains how people of African heritage were denied the knowledge of their descent, and how he never met a slave who could tell their age, birthdate, or ancestors. The lineage of a person is one important aspect of their lives but slaves are deprived of their ancestry to convince them that they are not worth as human beings. “The practice of separating children from their mother, …is in harmony with the grand aim of slavery, which, always and everywhere, is to reduce man to a level with the brute” (Douglass 24).
They used their religion as a crutch for their evil deeds, which only intensified the ignorance of the slaveholders. The experiences described by Frederick Douglass in his narrative are so grueling and vivid that one cannot help but to rationalize the unmoral values that slavery and slaveholding posses, and that the abolishment of slavery would benefit society in many ways.
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.
Douglass makes the dehumanizing effects of slavery on slaves obvious, appealing to feelings of sympathy in the North; however, he also appeals to the agitators of slavery — slaveowners in the South — by stressing how the corrupt and irresponsible power they enjoy are detrimental to their own moral health. By showing the immorality of slaveowners and their families as a result of perpetuating slavery, Douglass contends that slavery should be abolished for the greater good of the whole society.