Douglass's humiliating anecdotes about slavery create sympathy for people held in bondage. Slaves were punished by whipping, hanging, branding, beating, or burning. Punishment was most often dole out in response to disobedience or perceived error. Since the government allowed it, slaves suffered dramatic physical abuse during and outside of work. One of the most common instruments used against a slave was the whip. Slaves were punished for a number of reasons: breaking a rule, working too casually, or leaving the plantation without permission. Most states did not allow slaves from holding religious activities for fear that these meetings could facilitate communication and later lead to rebellion. Frederick Douglass (1995), states, “Our food was coarse corn meal boiled, which was called mush. It was put into a large wooden tray or trough, and set down upon the ground. The children were then called, like so many pigs, and like so many pigs they would come and devour the mush; some with oyster-shells, others with pieces of shingle, some with naked hands, and none with spoons. He that ate fastest got most; he that was strongest secured the best place; and few left the trough satisfied" (Chapter 5, page 1). This clearly indicates how children were treated like animals and their inability to act in the presence of a normal educated child. Douglass states, "I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, and the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!" (Chapter 10) Douglass makes it clear that slavery weakens a man, and makes him surrender his manhood. Accor... ... middle of paper ... ...ue to his talents as an orator and a writer. All this overwhelming attention put him at high risk. Douglass went to England where he continued to fight for the cause; because he was afraid his old master would reclaim him and return him to enslavement. He was eventually allowed to return to the United States because some fellow abolitionist bought his freedom. He started writing an anti-slavery newspaper known as the North Star. It got this name because whenever slaves would escape they would follow the North Star, which they knew if they followed it would lead them to freedom. Douglass served as an example to all who doubted the ability of African Americans to function as free citizens. Frederick Douglass describes the brutality of slavery through the description he tells to admonish the North of the South’s barbarity and to further the abolitionist operation.
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
The first reason why Frederick Douglass was a prominent abolitionist was because of his experiences in his life. He was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in 1817 in Tuckahoe, Maryland (“Douglass, Frederick”). He was born as a slave and was raised by his grandmother because his mother was sold when he was an infant, as was a common occurrence in the American South (“Frederick Douglass”). When he was old enough, Douglass was put to work by Edward Lloyd. This is when he experienced the hardships of slavery (“Frederick Douglass”). In 1825, he was transferred to the household of Hugh Auld (“Frederick Douglass”). He learned to read and write from Auld’s wife (“Frederick Douglass”). When Auld found out that his wife was educating Douglass, he put a stop to it. However, Douglass continued to read and write secretly (“Frederick Douglass”). In 1838, Douglass managed to escape to freedom in New York (“Frederick Douglass”). However, he was forced to move to Great Britain in 1845 because of Fugitive Slave laws (“Frederick Douglass”). He returned in 1847 (“Frederick Douglass”). He received enough money in Britain to publi...
Frederick Douglass, an African American social reformer who escaped from slavery, in his autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself,” denotes the perilous life of a slave in the South. Through syntax, Douglass is able to persuade his readers to support the abolitionist movement as his writing transitions from shifting sentence lengths to parallel structure and finally to varying uses of punctuation. Douglass begins his memoir with a combination of long and short sentences that serve to effectively depict life his life as a slave. This depiction is significant because it illustrates the treatment of slaves in the south allows his audience to despise the horrors of slavery. In addition, this
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.
DeLombard, Jeannie. “Eye-Witness to the Cruelty.” Southern Violence and Northern Testimony in Frederick Douglass’s 1845. Scholarly Journal. eLibrary. Web. 27 February 2014.
Douglass' enslaved life was not an accurate representation of the common and assumed life of a slave. He, actually, often wished that he was not so different and had the same painful, but simpler ignorance that the other slaves had. It was his difference, his striving to learn and be free that made his life so complicated and made him struggle so indefinitely. Douglass expresses this in writing, "I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me" (Douglass, 53). In his narrative, Douglass does generalize to relate his experience to that of other slaves, creating a parallel between his life and the life of any other slave. He writes about the brutality, physi...
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass written by Frederick Douglass and edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. described how slaves in the U.S were treated before the American Civil War. The cruelties that these slaves faced every day were beyond what all of us would expected. They were abused with force and starvation by their masters and overseers, additionally they were also being suppressed by their owners, intellectually and economically. Many of us think of slavery as an act of confinement and denying a person of his/her freedom. However, American slavery is way worst than that. Slavery in U.S is a way to suppress generations of African Americans by treating them with violence. As Douglass described what he saw " I had seen [master] tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cowskin upon her naked back..Master would keep this lacerated young women tied up in this horrid Comment [G5]: Deleted:y Comment [G1]: Inserted: were Comment [G2]: Inserted: ies Comment [G4]: Deleted:a Comment [G3]: Inserted:
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.
Douglass begins chapter 5 by characterizing the conditions of his time at Colonel Lloyd’s plantation. Douglass was kept nearly naked with “nothing on but a coarse tow linen shirt” which reached only his knees. He had no bed and was forced to sleep “on the cold, damp, clay floor” with his feet sticking out of a stolen corn meal bag he used to sleep in. “My feet have been so cracked with the frost,” Douglass admits, “that the pen with which I am writing might be laid in the gashes” (Douglass 15). Douglass then divulges into the eating habits on the plantation. The food served, boiled and coarse corn meal, was referred to as mush. The substance was “put into a large wooden tray or trough” and set upon the ground. Douglass then describes the slave children using oyster-shells, pieces of shingle, and naked hands to devour the mush in a manner similar to pigs. Douglass juxtaposes this with the common eating practices of whites who were able to use utensils, such as spoons, while eating (Douglass 16). Unlike civilized white citizens, slave were denied proper food, bedding, and
Slavery was a big problem back then. It was cruel that a person got treated like a slave. I’m going to list reasons why slavery was wrong in America and resources that describe slavery. One of the resources was a book called 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. This book is about an african american man who is free but gets kidnapped and gets sold into slavery. He talks about his life as a slave when he gets kidnapped in New York. This resource will support my argument because it shows that slavery is wrong. A free man gets kidnapped and becomes a slave which show that slavery is cruel and not right. A person shouldn’t get captured and not be able to live their life freely because there a slave. Also websites of first hand accounts of slaves.
He participated in a meeting in Nantucket that was an anti-slavery convention. This was a huge accomplishment to him because he spread the word about his time being a slave. He was offered to an agency in Massachusetts of the anti-slavery society. He also traveled to New England to give speeches about being a free colored man. Douglass also touched around the world by giving his audience a description of being in slavery. Douglass also was a member of the Woman’s Suffrage Association. Douglass’ purpose was to spread knowledge about being a slave in America. (Thompson,
Douglass endured a brutal life as he was born into slavery, a major disadvantage, which challenged him to transform not only his own life but the lives of others so that they would not have to experience the torturous life as a slave. Douglass was betrayed by his family as they dropped him off at a plantation because they could not take care of him (PBS N.P.). His brutal life as a slave was compounded by the fact that his parents only gave him one thing in life, a white master. This tragic event allowed Douglass to put immense passion and emotion into his writing. He was not only writing to degrade the slave ridden society but to make a name for himself because he had no family to rely upon. His contributions to literature were immeasurable as he wrote from a perspective that had never been investigated. He added to the Southern culture accurate events that happened and the true life of a slave that historians later picked up. He taught himself how to read and write so his form was completely unique and personal (D...
Plantation owners in the south hunted for, captured, and enslaved African Americans to do a wide variety of work at the plantations. Even though these slaves would get regularly whipped for arbitrary reasons, the owners and masters believed that it was in the best interest of the slaves to be in slavery. A slave masters wife started teaching a slave by the name of Fredrick Douglass how to read because she believed he would not have gotten the chance to learn if he was not in slavery. Slave masters also knew the slaves had a better live because they had food to eat. They claimed that if the slaves had not been captured or born of a slave family, they would not have had the adequate amount of food to survive. Douglass refutes that humanitarian views towards slavery are wrong by giving his insight on how he was dehumanized by slavery in the following ways: his ability to learn basic life skills, how to care and have a voice for himself and lastly, the gift of happiness.
Within the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave” Douglass discusses the deplorable conditions in which he and his fellow slaves suffered from. While on Colonel Lloyd’s plantation, slaves were given a “monthly allowance of eight pounds of pork and one bushel of corn” (Douglass 224). Their annual clothing rations weren’t any better; considering the type of field work they did, what little clothing they were given quickly deteriorated. The lack of food and clothing matched the terrible living conditions. After working on the field all day, with very little rest the night before, they must sleep on the hard uncomfortably cramped floor with only a single blanket as protection from the cold. Coupled with the overseer’s irresponsible and abusive use of power, it is astonishing how three to four hundred slaves did not rebel. Slave-owners recognized that in able to restrict and control slaves more than physical violence was needed. Therefore in able to mold slaves into the submissive and subservient property they desired, slave-owners manipulated them by twisting religion, instilling fear, breaking familial ties, making them dependent, providing them with an incorrect view of freedom, as well as refusing them education.
Douglass's narrative is, on one surface, intended to show the barbarity and injustice of slavery. However, the underlying argument is that freedom is not simply attained through a physical escape from forced labor, but through a mental liberation from the attitude created by Southern slavery. The slaves of the South were psychologically oppressed by the slaveholders' disrespect for a slave’s family and for their education, as well as by the slaves' acceptance of their own subordination. Additionally, the slaveholders were trapped by a mentality that allowed them to justify behavior towards human beings that would normally not be acceptable. In this manner, both slaveholder and slave are corrupted by slavery.
According to Douglass, the treatment of a slave was worse than that of an animal. Not only were they valued as an animal, fed like an animal, and beaten like an animal, but also a slave was reduced to an animal when he was just as much of a man as his master. The open mentality a slave had was ...