Oppressing others to assert dominance shows mans capability for cruelty. In Frederick Douglass' autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author recounts his rise from slavery to freedom. Douglass notes the negative influence of slavery on slave owners. Thorough his characterization of his former masters Douglass conveys the idea that slavery harms not only slaves but also the masters. The show of dominance slave owners display results from the need to affirm one's power over a group of people.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, brings to light many of the social injustices that colored men, women, and children all were forced to endure throughout the nineteenth century under Southern slavery laws. Douglass's life-story is presented in a way that creates a compelling argument against the justification of slavery. His argument is reinforced though a variety of anecdotes, many of which detailed strikingly bloody, horrific scenes and inhumane cruelty on the part of the slaveholders. Yet, while Douglas’s narrative describes in vivid detail his experiences of life as a slave, what Douglass intends for his readers to grasp after reading his narrative is something much more profound. Aside from all the physical burdens of slavery that he faced on a daily basis, it was the psychological effects that caused him the greatest amount of detriment during his twenty-year enslavement.
In conclusion, Douglass’s main argument throughout his novel was that slavery was inhumane for both parties; the slave and the slave owner. Douglass illustrates that slavery was an evil that could turn the nicest soul into a soul red with rage, as he experienced firsthand. Throughout his novel Douglass is able to use analogies to compare slavery to animal behavior, and vivid detail to put the reader in his shoes and view it from a slaves perspective. By using these rhetorical elements, Douglass is able to more fully explain the dehumanizing effect slavery has on its subjects, and just how lucky he was to be able to educate himself and escape what he called, “a den of hungry lions.” Works Cited Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
He wants readers to realize that slavery is brutalizing and dehumanizing, that a slave is able to become a man, and that some slaves, like himself, have intellectual ability. These points are commonly presented through the words of Douglass because of his diction.
Misery of Slavery Exposed in Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beacher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin addresses the issue of slavery in close accordance with the style of Frederick Douglas' narrative. A theme that Stowe impresses strongly upon the reader is the degenerative effects of slavery upon both the slave and the master. Frequently in the novel the issue is raised . Even Mrs. Shelby recognizes the depravity and admits that slavery, "is a bitter, bitter, most accursed thing- a curse to the master and a curse to the slave!"(45). The injustices of slavery are frequently identified in the novel but, of course, the practice is continued.
Also, we will talk about the power that the slaveholders got from controlling their slaves and the fear that the slaveholders maybe had to understand how they were changed. Thomas Auld had been a poor men and he came into possession of all his slaves by marriage. He was a cowardly cruel slaveholder and he didn’t have the ability to hold slaves. He also realized that his incapable of managing his slaves. However, he wanted the power and wished to be called master by his slaves (Douglass, p. 76~77).
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: A Perspective on the Evils of Slavery The institution of slavery defies the very nature of humanity, truth, and intellect from both the slave and the slave owner. Throughout the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; the terrible relationship between ignorance and suppression is seen time and time again with every one of his owners. Douglass is fortunate in discovering the liberating power of knowledge of which his owners are trying so diligently to conceal. With this discovery comes a "new conception" of just how evil the institution of slavery is, causing Douglass to consider the pursuit of this powerful tool. To further complicate his battle against ignorance, Douglass's pathway to enlightenment and ultimately freedom leads him to discover the many other cruel methods that his suppressors use to break the essential and most important component of humanity, the soul.
It was at this time, that Fredrick did not even know his own age. As mentioned in Fredrick Douglass’s memoir, Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, Douglass states “it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slave this ignorant” (Douglass, 15). This is the first scenario in which we noticed the dehumanizing practices of slavery to occur. During the time of Fredrick’s childhood, he noticed that white children could tell their age, and he himself was not able to. He was not able to make any inquiries of it to his master because slaves were not given that right.
The book describes what different characters experienced under varied circumstances. Some slaves had kind masters, whereas others had cruel dictators. In short, the slave owner’s disposition and personality did determine how their slaves would be treated. Comparatively, the type of jobs that slaves did depended on their environment as well as their skill set. Therefore, 12 Years a Slave is a gripping memoir that addresses the diversity of slavery in full color and provides a clear warning of the moral consequences slavery disregards.
He will start to develop ideas on his own and question the authority of his masters. For example, Douglass explains that most slaves do not even know the date of their birth, “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant” (Douglass 47). Not knowing their age or birth date is a way for slave owners to show authority over their slaves and to try to keep them as ignorant as possible. They are treated as if their age does not matter, as if they are animals. They were also deprived of the knowledge who their father was.