Some slaves were determined to be free, even at the expense of their own lives. Franklin describes the different ways of how slaves would try to escape, and the main reasons why they were not submissive to the system or content with their condition of having security from their slave master. 2. What is the book’s thesis (the author’s main argument or interpretation of the theme)? The book’s thesis is that the overseers and slave masters had a difficult time of managing slaves on the plantations.
It created an awakening for slaves since he was one of the first slaves that wrote a biography of his life even though slaves were expected to be uneducated. It showed cased slavery as evil and immoral and more people began to support the abolitionist movement. Thus caused conflict between the south and the north because many whites had different opinions and beliefs about slavery. Since they claimed slavery was a good thing because slaves were given a place to live and a place
The great Fredrick Douglass tries to describe in the best way he can the life of a slave. He does this because he could only talk about slavery through events that he lived through because slavery was different for other people and diffe... ... middle of paper ... ...of property and that they could do what they pleased with them. They did not care if the well-being of the slave. They looked at slaves not as people but looked them as a profit to be made. Unlike the south the north had a somewhat different point of view.
Published by the Anti Slavery Committee, it was definitely biased against the slave holder but Douglass seemed to write fairly of his experiences especially since he was able to relate both good and bad experiences with his slave owners. Douglass’ words sum it up the best, "You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man." (107) Work Cited Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003.
Despite this seemingly insurmountable reality, Frederick Douglass, a slave for over twenty years, was able to resist. He gradually became aware of the psychology of the slave owners, and the immense power that they wielded. Douglass was able to escape the oppressive, exploitative, and controlling power structure of slavery by resolving to overcome his forced ignorance, and to unite his fellow slaves, realizing, along the way, his sense of self and innate integrity. Slaveholders are able to perpetuate the existence of slavery through the ignorance of their slaves. Keeping a slave ignorant about their date of birth, their paternity, as well as their capability to read and write, enables slaveholders to retain unchallenged control over the slave.
What were they trying to accomplish by this? Resistance. In the modern reinterpretation of slavery, considerable attention has been devoted to the subject of slave resistance. Earlier observers argued that such slave characteristics as clumsiness, slovenliness, listleness, destructiveness, and inability to learn indicated racial inferiority. Recent studies of slavery attribute these observed characteristics to the slaves, defiant determination to resist slavery’s worst manifestations and to make the institution as livable as possible.
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.
Douglass may very well have been one of the better-treated slaves of his era, and in revealing the horrors of his relatively good circumstances, he underscores the overall mistreatment of slaves. Douglass destroyed the illusions of racially driven mental and physical inferiority, Biblical justification of slavery, and slave happiness that slavery supporters so often put forth by providing contradictory examples from his own life. One of the illusions that Douglass sought to destroy was the natural mental inferiority of his race. This component of the pro-slavery argument was brought up numerous times, for example in George McDuffie’s “The Natural Slavery of the Negro.” In this work, McDuffie argued that slavery was not only merited, but necessary, as people of African heritage were “utterly unqualified” for “rational freedom” because of their “intellectual inferiority” and their need for a “condition of servile dependence” (The Natural Slavery of the Negro, McDuffie, P2). Douglass combated this argument with anecdotes of how he “finally succeeded in learning to read” without a formal education (67).
It was through his stay with the Auld’s that he came to learn of the whites dominance and power over the black people/ slaves by making sure that they were uneducated. After his discovery, Douglass narrates how he decided to get education in order to escape and free himself from slavery. Douglass was determined to get education and he used this education to teach his fellow slaves and is later jailed after his plan to escape was discovered. In the end, Douglass was able to learn how to read and write well as well as to escape. Fredric Douglass wrote this narrative so as to let the audience know how the black slaves were brutally treated by the whites.
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.