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 first part of Narrative is mainly about his early life as a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland. He was possibly born February 1818 but this is only speculation as slave’s owner didn’t take records of slave births. Even at an early time in his life he became painfully aware of his status as a slave due the vicious treatment his aunt received. Douglass writes “They would sometimes sing the most pathetic sentiment in the most rapturous tone and the most rapturous sentiment in the most pathetic tone" (Douglass 31). Douglass recounts that his slave masters defile, whip, and control blacks through physical pain and fear.
Slavery Essay: Douglas Argument In the Autobiography, “Narrative Life of Fredrick Douglas: An American Slave,” Fredrick Douglas writes to show what the life of a slave is like, because from personal experience, he knows. Fredrick Douglas not only shows how his life has been as a slave but shows what it is like to be on the bottom and be mistreated. Douglas shows that freedom isn’t free, and he took the initiative to become a free man. Not many African-Americans had the opportunity to make themselves free and were forced to live a life of disparity and torture. Through his experience Douglas shows us the psychological effects of slavery.
All slaves were treated as if they were not human and not allowed to have privileges white people experienced. Overworked and exhausted, slaves were living... ... middle of paper ... ...tates in his book, “Without Struggle There Is No Success” (Douglass). In other words, most people cannot expect to achieve a goal without failing. Frederick Douglass describes the different conditions he experienced and witnessed in the book, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. As an educated and free black man, Frederick Douglass made it his goal to get his story out to the nation, so that the citizens will know the true colors of slavery.
However, He was beaten brutally so he can be “broken” into a good disciplined slave. Douglass describes many elements in his narrative; Douglass explains how slaveholders were able to sustain themselves with their actions. Frederick describes the ways the slaves stayed where they were and did not attempt to escape. He also addresses a number of myths created by slaves and slaveholders that he wishes to prove wrong. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Frederick Douglass describes the ways a slaveholder sustain their actions, ways a slave was kept from escaping and proves the myths of slaves and slaveholders wrong.
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).
It created an awakening for slaves since he was one of the first slaves that wrote a biography of his life even though slaves were expected to be uneducated. It showed cased slavery as evil and immoral and more people began to support the abolitionist movement. Thus caused conflict between the south and the north because many whites had different opinions and beliefs about slavery. Since they claimed slavery was a good thing because slaves were given a place to live and a place
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.
Frederick Douglass’ journey from slave to freed man is infamous for its influence in the abolition movements during the 1800’s. In his narrative, Douglass uses the appeal of ethos in order to establish his stance on the issue of slavery. In addition to that, he uses many of his own personal experiences to not only reveal the hard life of a slave, but to also show that at the time, he had his own thoughts and beliefs about the injustices around him. This shows the audience that slaves are capable of thinking for themselves, having feelings and even have the potential to become educated and live as equals among the whites. Despite his obvious support for the abolition of slavery, Douglass keeps an objective stance and does not only discuss the wrongs of slavery in favor of the blacks; he simply tells the story of his life.
Fredrick Douglass was (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. February 1818 and died on February 20, 1895. Douglass was an African-American social reformer, speaker, and writer. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling rhetoric and insightful antislavery writing. For those who think that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens, he endured as a living counter example to slaveholder’s argument. Many of the northerners also discovered it hard to believe that such a great speaker had been a slave.