The Brutalizing Effects of Slavery Illustrated in the Book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Powerful Essays
Frederick Douglass, the author of the book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, said “I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both slave and slaveholder” (Douglass, p.71). Modern people can fairly and easily understand the negative effects of slavery upon slave. People have the idea of slaves that they are not allow to learn which makes them unable to read and write and also they don’t have enough time to take a rest and recover their injuries. However, the negative effects upon slaveholder are less obvious to modern people. 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.

Thomas Auld had been a poor men and he came into possession of all his slaves by marriage. He was a cowardly cruel slaveholder and he didn’t have the ability to hold slaves. He also realized that his incapable of managing his slaves. However, he wanted the power and wished to be called master by his slaves (Douglass, p. 76~77). He became a cruel man from possessing all of his wife’s slaves and becoming a slaveholder. He had to be cruel to be looked like a powerful slavehol...

... middle of paper ...

...out his master and mistress who were brutalized. He just wrote about his lifetime stories, so it’s not easy to find out actually how and why slaveholders were changed by slavery. I thought it was because of the power or the fear they got from becoming slaveholders or maybe both the power and the fear were the reasons, because we can say that the fear made slaveholders want the power.

I think modern readers will understand the brutalizing effects of slavery upon slaveholders better by knowing that the power and the fear they got made them change, because it’s still the same that many people who have the power and the fear of losing their power, such as politicians, are getting brutalizing effects of politics. Although slavery wasn’t the same as the politics now, I think the inevitable fact that the power and the fear can easily brutalize people is the same as now.
Get Access