Fredrick Douglass

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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. He was a cowardly man because he didn’t have the ability or courage to properly hold slaves, but “he found himself incapable of managing his slaves either by force, fear, or fraud” (pg. 380). Auld was a merciless man that worked the slaves to the limit and barely gave them enough to eat. Douglass mentioned how often slaves stole food in order to survive and to prevent from becoming ill. “We were therefore reduced to the wretched necessity of living at the expense of out neighbors. This is what we did by begging or stealing […]” (pg. 379). Most slave owners were unsympathetic towards their slaves; however, Douglass found from experience that “adopted slaveholders are the worst”. Since adopted slave owners were married into slave owning and weren’t raised among slavery, Douglass believed that they didn’t know how to tr...

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... master practiced. He came to the conclusion that being religious didn’t show their goodness as people but instead brought out their brutality.
The Life of Fredrick Douglass shows how slavery could of not only affected the slaves but the owners as well. Thomas Auld was overall a cowardly owner and quite tough compared to other slaveholders. 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.
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