In The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass constantly depicts the horrors of slavery and he never fails to remind readers just how evil it is. He does a great job of illustrating how the dehumanization of slaves by the whites played a significant role in the continued production of slavery and that practices that came along with it. It is almost as though that without treating these people like animals, society would not be able to continue the violence necessary to keep the economy intact. The first instance of dehumanization that Douglass illustrates is in the first chapter, where he describes the separation of slave children from their mothers at a young age. “Frequently, before the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, and hired out on some farm a considerable distance off, and the child is placed under the care of an old woman, too old for field labor.” (Douglass 15). A child is barely a year old before it is already being separated from its mother. Douglass even expresses his confusion and disbelief at such a practice. “For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child's affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the inevitable result.” (Douglass 15). If they were separated, the child wouldn’t have as much as an emotional attachment to the mother as the mother would to them. Slave owners of this time barely put much thought into doing something like this. To them, it must have been as easy as separating animals from their parents at certain ages. This just goes to show that slaves were nothing but animals to the whites. The second instance of dehumanization tha... ... middle of paper ... ...ose slaves were fed. Much like pigs, they ate from troughs, much like pigs, they were called for food. Slave owners simply did not view their slaves as equals, and this made it easy for them to continue the brutality that made slavery possible. They wanted to feed their slaves as little as possible, all the while making sure they were fed well enough to do the work they were supposed to. In conclusion, Frederick Douglass uses vivid imagery to describe the brutality of slavery. Without this brutality, the culture of slavery would not exist. Douglass worked to abolish slavery, recognizing from personal experiences that the mistreatment of the blacks was truly awful. He was able to free himself with this knowledge. Works Cited Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. Wortley, near Leeds: Printed by J. Barker, 1846. Print.
From before the country’s conception to the war that divided it and the fallout that abolished it, slavery has been heavily engrained in the American society. From poor white yeoman farmers, to Northern abolitionist, to Southern gentry, and apathetic northerners slavery transformed the way people viewed both their life and liberty. To truly understand the impact that slavery has had on American society one has to look no further than those who have experienced them firsthand. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and advocate for the abolitionist, is on such person. Douglass was a living contradiction to American society during his time. He was an African-American man, self-taught, knowledgeable, well-spoken, and a robust writer. Douglass displayed a level of skill that few of his people at the time could acquire. With his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written by Himself, Douglass captivated the people of his time with his firsthand accounts into the horror and brutality that is the institution of slavery.
In Douglass’ book, he narrates his earliest accounts of being a slave. At a young age, he acknowledges that it was a masters’ prerequisite to “keep their slaves thus ignorant”, reporting he had no true account of his age, and was groomed to believe, “a want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood” (25). This mindset was inbreeded in slaves to use ignorance as control and power. As a child, Douglass is separated from his mother. Thus, he comprehends this is implemented in slavery to disengage any mental, physical, and emotional bond within families and to benefit slave owners concern of uprooting slaves for trade. He illustrates the “norm” action and response of a slave to the master. To describe the typical dialogue, he states, “To all these complaints, no matter how unjust, the slave must answer never a word”, and in response “a slave must stand, listen, and tremble” (38). In the course of his narrative, he describes several excruciating acts of abuse on slaves. His first memory of this exploitation, the lashing of his Aunt Hester, he depicts as, “the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery” (29). Also, he gives accounts of owners’ self-deception tactics, injustices, and in effect, shaping characteristics of prejudice, jealousy, and dishonesty of slaves towards slaves. Likewise, connecting to the reader, slave...
Douglass's Narrative brings an ugly era of American history to life as it weaves through his personal experiences with slavery, brutality, and escape. Most importantly Douglass reveals the real problem in slavery, which is the destructive nature of intolerance and the need for change. Douglass refers many times to the dehumanizing effects sla...
As you can see Frederick Douglass provided many glimpses into the world of slavery in his narrative. He showed many different examples of how slaves were able to resist their masters and create their own autonomous culture within the brutal system of slavery.
Learning and knowledge make all the difference in the world, as Frederick Douglass proves by changing himself from another man's slave to a widely respected writer. A person is not necessarily what others label him; the self is completely independent, and through learning can move proverbial mountains. The main focus of this essay is on the lives of the American Slaves, and their treatment by their masters. The brutality brought upon the slaves by their holders was cruel, and almost sadistic. These examples will cite how the nature of Douglass's thoughts and the level of his understanding changed, and his method of proving the evilness of slavery went from visual descriptions of brutality to more philosophical arguments about its wrongness.
Frederick Douglass is one of the most well-known, powerful, and talked about anti-slavery advocators of his time. In his book, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, he describes his journey as a slave in America in an attempt to show the people how unjust and unnatural the practice of slavery really is. Throughout his book he clearly points out the negative effects of slavery. When most people think about the negative aspects of slavery it is from the slave’s point of view. However, Frederick Douglass describes how slavery is harmful not only to slaves, but to slave owners as well. Slavery pushes the boundaries of slaves’ mental and physical states while also corrupting the moral state of
In, “The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”, readers get a first person perspective on slavery in the South before the Civil War. The author, Frederick Douglass, taught himself how to read and write, and was able to share his story to show the evils of slavery, not only in regard to the slaves, but with regard to masters, as well. Throughout Douglass’ autobiography, he shares his disgust with how slavery would corrupt people and change their whole entire persona. He uses ethos, logos, and pathos to help establish his credibility, and enlighten his readers about what changes needed to be made.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003.
Frederick Douglass was brought from Africa as a baby to the U.S. to become a slave during the 17th century. In his narrative book “Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass,” he used rhetoric to provoke reader’s emotions, and inspiration of hope when everything isn’t good. Douglass used the rhetoric appeal pathos to show people how horrible he was treated as a slave, and how he kept up his motivation about becoming free from slavery. In addition, he also used pathos so effective that readers can see his experiences in front of themselves.
Frederick Douglass had moved into a new mistresses home who had never known of slavery. While she had initially taught him to read, fed him well, and looked upon him like an equal human being, she eventually forbade him from reading and whipped him at her husband’s request. The kind woman he had known became inhumane and degrading because that was required to maintain the unwarranted power over slaves.
In sum, all of these key arguments exist in “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” because of the institution of slavery and its resulting lack of freedom that was used to defend it. This text’s arguments could all be gathered together under the common element of inequality and how it affected the practical, social, and even spiritual lives of the slaves.
In conclusion, Frederick Douglass starts his life as a slave determined to get his freedom. At the end of his life, he is one of the foremost figures of the abolitionist movement. Douglass' narrative takes advantage of the literal advantage in order to abolish slavery. Through depictions of dehumanization and freedom, Frederick Douglass' narrative is instrumental in swaying the views of the indifferent Northern residents.
The Narrative of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass is written to have people place their feet in the shoes of Frederick Douglass and try to understand the experience he went through as a slave. Douglass writes this piece of literature with strong wording to get his point across. He is not trying to point out the unpleasant parts of history, but to make people face the truth. 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.
Frederick Douglass’ landmark narrative describes the dehumanization of African-American slaves, while simultaneously humanizing them through his moving prose. Douglass shows the dehumanization of slaves through depictions of violence, deindividuation, and the broken justice system. However, Douglass’ pursuit of an education, moving rhetoric, and critique of his own masters demonstrates to the reader that African-Americans are just as intelligent as white people, thus proving their humanity.
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 the same regard, Douglass is able to profess that it was not only the slaves who incurred the damaging effects of slavery, but also the slaveholders. Slavery, in essence, is a destructive force that collectively corrupts the minds of slaveholders and weakens slaves’ intellects.