Mr. Auld believed that teaching a slave was not only a bad idea, but also against the law. Douglass said, “Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world.” At this point, Douglass mentioned that he had a completely new realization, a new thought that black men are slaves because of their lack of knowledge. Douglass understands the main function that literacy plays in a white-dominated society during that time. Teaching a few things to a young slave will make him "unmanageable" and "unfit" to perform his job as a slave. Education will raise a slave’s self-conscious mind and help him to understand the value of a free life.
They did not want the slaves seeking hope and forming an escape plan to gain their freedom. Douglass stated that becoming literate “had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out (Puchner, Martin).” A second theme present in this narrative is how slavery not only damaged African Americans, but the white slave owners as well. It shows how slave owners thrived on the power of “owning” human beings. Douglass states how being a slave owner was harmful to the owner’s moral sense of health because it is unnatural for a human to own another human/ humans.
And the lack of education left their minds dulled to any thoughts beyond what they already knew which was just their own miserable condition. To read this narrative is to hear an authentic, truthful voice in Douglass who throws out the flowery language of his day to paint an accurate portrait of the life of a slave to make us believe his story and sympathize with his cause. Douglass struggles to find his own identity and does so through self-reliance against all odds. He notes that he is a great exception and that in order for slavery to end, the social and political systems have to change because the factors that keep slaves in bondage are to great for all slaves to overcome. 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.
Once a slave was educated in those times, they were no longer useful for the masters because they thought the enslave needed to be uneducated. Frederick Douglass wanted to prove them all wrong. According to the story "these words sank deep into my heart"(pg.351). He realized that he would do anything in order to get his education without getting caught. Douglass also knew that one day he would have a story to tell as long as he educated
In Fredrick Douglass’ narrative of his own life he makes known his difficulty in receiving an education, something we take for granted today. He goes on to restate a conversation between his master and mistress: “Learning would spoil the best negro in the world. Now, if you teach that negro…how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.
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.
Douglass combated this argument with anecdotes of how he “finally succeeded in learning to read” without a formal education (67). His anecdotes... ... middle of paper ... ...aveholders used the existence of slavery in the Bible as a defense for their actions, instead of adhering to Christian values and renouncing the warped morals of slavery. Slaveholders used corrupt morals and inherently false logic to defend slavery, but Douglass, by sharing the story of his life and of others’, dispelled the illusions of slavery. Douglass’ life provided the evidence necessary to counter the slaveholders’ arguments: racial inferiority, both physical and mental, slave happiness, and Biblical justification for slavery. By publishing this autobiography, Douglass furthered the opposition of slavery, as whites that had never experienced slavery could finally sympathize with members of the anti-slavery movement.
This meant that these bastard children were slaves despite their paternal heritage because their mother was a slave. The effect of this revelation was to shock and offend the morals of the conservative northern whites. Northern society scorned people in adulterous and interracial relationships. By portraying these Southerners as immoral and adulterous, Douglass wanted to cultivate in his audience a damaging opinion of southern slaveholders (Quarles ix). Continuing with the theme o... ... middle of paper ... ...streated and punished their slaves, and how they used religion as an excuse to legitimize their immoral actions.
Frederick Douglass relates how kindly and goodhearted Mrs. Auld was before her husband taught her the “correct” manner of treating a slave. “I have had her rush at me, with the utmost fury, and snatch from my hand such newspaper or book, with something of the wrath and consternation which a traitor might be supposed to feel on being discovered in a plot by some dangerous spy” (Douglass 101). The system of slavery corrupted the good-natured character of the slave owners because it is an institution based on unnatural values that is only accepted because of the immoral social justifications of this time period in American history and
Douglass... ... middle of paper ... ...ive. “Besides the pain of separation, the dread and apprehension of a failure exceeded what I had experienced at my first attempt. This feeling was holding him back but knew that if he didn’t make this move he would be stuck as a slave for life. Douglass was able to overcome his destiny of being a slave for life; believing that if a white man can achieve something great, why cant a slave. He showed the world how even a slave can talk intellectually and can comprehend everything they know.