In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass depicts his life as a plantation slave, offering misinformed northern Christians and reformers in-depth accounts of the physical and emotional cruelties of slavery. As Douglass recounts his relationship and interactions with the harsh Mr. Covey, he disputes the basis on which southern slaveowners defended slavery. Douglass dispels their claims of encompassing a Christian duty to civilize blacks who they deemed naturally inferior by proving how they actively worked to keep slaves from assimilating and contributing to society. Southern slaveowners claimed that they were upholding their Christian duty by engaging in slavery, rescuing slaves from a life of struggle and faithlessness.
In the annals of American history slavery was a dark time. Although many abhorred the practice of slavery, few had the courage to come forth and proclaim the depravity of it. In Frederick Douglass’s (1845/1995) autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author addressed the horrors of slavery and clearly displayed the condition of his fellow slaves. Frederick Douglass wrote his account of the mistreatment of the slaves in order to expose the fallacy of the economic argument for slavery and condemn the hypocrisy of the Southern Christian slave owners. Douglass’s work revealed how the slaves were treated as though they had neither value nor rights as human beings.
Douglass may very well have been one of the better-treated slaves of his era, and in revealing the horrors of his relatively good circumstances, he underscores the overall mistreatment of slaves. Douglass destroyed the illusions of racially driven mental and physical inferiority, Biblical justification of slavery, and slave happiness that slavery supporters so often put forth by providing contradictory examples from his own life. One of the illusions that Douglass sought to destroy was the natural mental inferiority of his race. This component of the pro-slavery argument was brought up numerous times, for example in George McDuffie’s “The Natural Slavery of the Negro.” In this work, McDuffie argued that slavery was not only merited, but necessary, as people of African heritage were “utterly unqualified” for “rational freedom” because of their “intellectual inferiority” and their need for a “condition of servile dependence” (The Natural Slavery of the Negro, McDuffie, P2). Douglass combated this argument with anecdotes of how he “finally succeeded in learning to read” without a formal education (67).
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. These stereotypes provided the foundation for the mythology of the plantation. Slave owners liked to think of themselves as the masters and even father-figures of a class of inferior, childlike people who could not survi... ... middle of paper ... ...her former slaves struggled hard to reclaim the right to define his own identity. To name himself was a huge accomplishment, carrying with it the right to tell his own story. Therefore, by him establishing his own identity on his own terms he catapulted his career as an abolitionist and his own claim to freedom.
As a result, she loses her previous view of slaves as human beings and turns into a beast—full of rage, menace, capriciousness, and impatience. Joyce Nower agrees with this idea ... ... middle of paper ... ...eep down in the bottom of his heart that slavery is wrong (since he keeps justifying his reasons for holding slaves), but he uses his religion in order to hide this reality. Eventually, these lies and self-deceptions just keep building upon one another and ultimately turn him into a hypocrite. Thomas Auld believes that his religion is a “God-given” right to treat slaves crueler. Douglass recalls how he uses religion in order to justify his treatment of a helpless female slave, “I have said my master found religious sanction for his cruelty..
To be a slave meant to live a doomed life. Negros were not the only ones who were ruined by the institution of slavery, though. Frederick Douglass, an African American social reformer, leader of the abolitionist movement, and former slave, believed that the unnatural means of slavery had harmful effects on everyone within the institution of slavery. Although slaves faced physical, mental, and psychological abuse, slave owners were also degraded and ruined by the institution of slavery, because it distressed slaveholding families, caused warped forms of Christianity with unjust morals to arise, and reduced civil people to fiends through irresponsibility. Through his Narrative and his speeches, Douglass reasoned that if everyone within the institution of slavery was tarnished by it, then it must be unnatural, and therefore a threat to society as a whole that must be removed.
In his narrative, Douglass layers the many brutal, cruel, inhumane, and true components of slavery in his life, underlying each story with a political motive and relation. This method of writing was for his audience removed from slavery, those ignorant of slavery, uninformed, misunderstood, and those who were fortunate to have freedom. Douglass illustrates living conditions, experiences, tragedies, and struggles to great depths. Everywhere, African Americans escaped the binds of slavery due to Frederick Douglass' determination. He revolutionized America, being one of the greatest leaders of the abolition, being the reason for so many freed lives, and leading to the complete abolition and illegality of slavery in America.
Oppressing others to assert dominance shows mans capability for cruelty. In Frederick Douglass' autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author recounts his rise from slavery to freedom. Douglass notes the negative influence of slavery on slave owners. Thorough his characterization of his former masters Douglass conveys the idea that slavery harms not only slaves but also the masters. The show of dominance slave owners display results from the need to affirm one's power over a group of people.
Misery of Slavery Exposed in Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beacher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin addresses the issue of slavery in close accordance with the style of Frederick Douglas' narrative. A theme that Stowe impresses strongly upon the reader is the degenerative effects of slavery upon both the slave and the master. Frequently in the novel the issue is raised . Even Mrs. Shelby recognizes the depravity and admits that slavery, "is a bitter, bitter, most accursed thing- a curse to the master and a curse to the slave!"(45). The injustices of slavery are frequently identified in the novel but, of course, the practice is continued.
The black aesthetic has played a part in enhancing the comprehensive constitution of life for African Americans by distilling on the ethical issues, such as the evils of slavery and the unparallel economic disadvantages, of the period that help circumvent racial and class bigotry. First, since many Americans are in denial about slavery as a means of salvation, it is paramount to note that Douglass’ The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself is written about the authentic treacherous acts of slave owners deceiving slaves while noting a benevolent slave owner cannot exist. During the Christmas holidays, Douglass claims that slave owners concede to the intoxication of their slaves in order to beguile the slaves into believing the aftermath of intoxication is associated with the disaster of freedom, thus for... ... middle of paper ... ...to be more religious than any other race. Next, Cullen alludes to the Bible where Adam, the first man capable of sinning, forged from the “flesh that mirrors” (Cullen 4) God; this is conventional element for Christians that promises hope and salvation after death; however, this is allegorically exerted in the poem as irony to epitomize the predicament of human existence. One may view this biblical adduce as a paucity of salvation for the African Americans who are perpetually disadvantaged as second-class citizens merely for the deviation of skin color, whereas white skin color leads to Additionally, another theme for Cullen’s “Yet Do I Marvel” is an emotional ambivalence of being black: feelings of punishment and pride.