Narrative Of The Life Of Fredrick Douglass

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In the “Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass”, Fredrick Douglass tries to tell his story, and in the process enlighten readers on what it really was like to be a slave. He gives his own experiences while also giving account of what he saw being done onto other slaves. In addition, he tries to paint a picture of the effect that slavery had on slave masters as well. This paper gives a general account of the life of a slave on the basis of Douglass’ narrative. Slaves endured disjointed family lives. Douglass claims that he cannot accurately state his age and never saw “any authentic record containing it” (Douglass), which means that no one kept an account of the day he was born. Just like horses, slaves knew little about their actual ages and most masters wished to “keep their slave thus ignorant” (Douglass). It was a deliberate move by the slave masters since their children could accurately tell their ages. Slaves were even forbidden from making enquiries about their ages. In addition he never knew his father really was; he states that it “was also whispered that my master was my father”, an aspect he was also not allowed to know (Douglass). He claims that the means of knowing his father was withheld from him. He was separated from his mother long before he knew that she was his mother as was the custom in that part of Maryland. Even when his mother fell ill, he was not allowed to go take care of her, and neither was he allowed to attend her burial after her death. This shows that slaves seldom got the opportunity to live their lives with their families, to share their good and bad moments as well as affection. That created an emotional disconnect among close relatives as apparent when Douglass received the news of ... ... middle of paper ... ...e slaves were prevented from learning to read and right because the masters believed that it would make them unfit for slavery. Consequently, the slave holders worked hard to ensure that slaves remained without any sort of formal education. However, some slaves still put in efforts to learn how to read and write, which was quite a feat for a slave. This includes colluding with white children who had a positive opinion of slaves. They exchanged small gifts for reading lessons with the children, and that opened up their minds and strengthened their resolve to become free one day (Douglass). In a nutshell, slaves were separated from their lives, deprived of basic needs and dignity, were punished by whipping or getting sold and were prevented from learning how to read and write. This made their lives miserable as they worked to make their slave masters wealthier.
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