The institution of American slavery was fraught with many heart wrenching tails of inhuman treatment endured by those of African descent. In his autobiography Frederick Douglass details the daily horrors slaves faced. In Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave he depicts the plight of slavery with such eloquence that only one having suffered through it could do. Douglass writes on many key topics in slave life such as separation of families, punishment, and the truth that would lead him to freedom, and how these things work to keep slavery intact. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “My mother and I were separated when I was only but an infant…It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age.” (22) The bond between mother and child was broken before it had chance to form.
The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass: An American Slave, is a save narrative written by Fredrick Douglass himself. The narrative comprises of eleven chapters that give an account of Douglass’ life as a slave, and his quest to get education and become free from the slavery institution. In this narrative, Douglass struggles to free himself from the mentally, physically, and emotional torture of slavery, and the slavery itself. Douglass was taken away from his parents at a tender age and sent to live in Baltimore with his masters, Sophia and Hugh Auld. It was through his stay with the Auld’s that he came to learn of the whites dominance and power over the black people/ slaves by making sure that they were uneducated.
People usually think about the positive effects of slavery upon slaveholder, such as getting inexpensive labor. In the book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, Douglass also shows modern readers some brutalizing impact upon the owner of the slaves. He talks about Thomas Auld and Edward Covey who are his masters and also talks about Sophia Auld who is his mistress. We will talk about those three characters in the book which will help us to find out if there were the negative influences upon the owner of the slaves or not. Also, we will talk about the power that the slaveholders got from controlling their slaves and the fear that the slaveholders maybe had to understand how they were changed.
Despite this seemingly insurmountable reality, Frederick Douglass, a slave for over twenty years, was able to resist. He gradually became aware of the psychology of the slave owners, and the immense power that they wielded. Douglass was able to escape the oppressive, exploitative, and controlling power structure of slavery by resolving to overcome his forced ignorance, and to unite his fellow slaves, realizing, along the way, his sense of self and innate integrity. Slaveholders are able to perpetuate the existence of slavery through the ignorance of their slaves. Keeping a slave ignorant about their date of birth, their paternity, as well as their capability to read and write, enables slaveholders to retain unchallenged control over the slave.
Escaping slavery in 1838, Frederick Douglass informed citizens of the cruel abuse that many slaves and he experienced from their masters. Frederick Douglass was a self-educated African American while also being under the chains of slavery. As Douglass rises to admiration upon abolitionists, he writes many stories describing the difficulties and encounters he witnessed and experienced as a slave. In the book, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Douglass describes the clothing, food and horrific conditions he overcame as a slave. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery by his estranged mother, Harriet Bailey and his unknown white father, assumed to be Captain Anthony.
The narrative of Twelve Years a Slave has proven that the American society, especially in the 1800s was not so simple and perfect as it seemed to be. The harsh realities of slavery, overrules the happy and perfect life. The tolls of dehumanization, affected everyone in society including men, women, slaveholder’s and their families. Although, at first glance the slavery in the American South might seem simple, it is shocking to see that it affected everyone involved. Solomon Northup says, “ To brutalize the humane and finer feeling of their nature-dying without attention, and buried without shroud or coffin- it cannot otherwise be expected, than that they should become brutalized and reckless of human life…inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel, unjust, and barbarous one.” Inhumanity influences and takes a toll on society, and everyone involved.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave was a bibliography written by Frederick Douglass himself that told of his experiences of being a slave in the United States. He expresses the brutality the slave owners and how he struggled with running away to become a free human being. The themes of his story include: the ignorance of slaves, the treatment of slaves as property, religion used as justification, and the abuse of female slaves. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick explains the slave owners want to keep their slaves as ignorant and illiterate as possible because the more knowledgeable a slave becomes the more “unmanageable” he will become. He will start to develop ideas on his own and question the authority of his masters.
“Narrative of the Life of An American Slave” by Frederick Douglass is an autobiography on the troubles and obstacles that Frederick Douglass had overcome throughout his life as a man born into slavery. The story takes place in several different locations due to the slave trade system, . The story discusses how Douglass is fed with so much pain and sorrow that he forcefully makes an obligation towards becoming a free man. He finds solemn wonder in education, where he begins to discover new things about the nation’s unjustified society which he uses towards fulfilling his desire of escaping slavery. In the beginning, a young boy experienced a life full of confusion as he witnessed the suffering that his owner had brought upon his fellow brothers
The slave market was engrained in all aspects of the antebellum South ranging from fields to the farms, auctioneer blocks, and white households. It even influenced common consciences about how slave owners should feel about their slaves and the rhetoric they used when talking about slavery in general. Slave owners began to take on a paternalistic ideology in that they began to see watching over slaves and their buying and selling as a benefit to slaves that could not take care of themselves. The slave market therefore influenced slave owners self-perception, causing them to internalize their cultural surroundings. It also played into ideas of chivalry, gentility, patriarchy, and honor: concepts were endangered of alteration with each sale of a slave on the market.
Although he was a free man, Northup was kidnapped and wrongly sold into slavery. Through his journey, I was able to identify different pieces of slavery such as the physical brutality/sexual harassment, the slave and master relationship, and slave rebellion. I cannot begin to imagine the inhumane treatment slaves endured from their masters day in and day out. As Solomon (or his slave name, Platt) and other slaves conduct their tasks, they are constantly being challenged by their master. Whether they perform the job correctly or not, it becomes evident that some slave owners simply enjoy the feeling of power they gain when they are bellowing commands at dozens of people.