Throughout the book the theme of slavery, psychology, were mentioned a lot; and also how violence was used as a tool to enforce the masters wills. As Douglass talks about the events that shaped his life as a slave and how he obtained his freedom; he touched many important factors that slave went through in their lifetime. This paper will touch on how violence and fear was used to enforce the system, what psychological and physical impact violence had on slaves, and finally why Douglass was able to fight when so many others did not.
In the south the ratio of slave masters to slaves were crushingly low. The slaves
outnumbered their masters by a great deal. To ensure that the slaves do not revolt against them, they used a great deal of violence. To ensure this they had overseers; Douglass talks about the different types of overseers he had throughout his life and one thing they all had in common was the fact that they all used violence as a means of discipline.
The first overseer he had was Mr. Severe. Douglass describes him as a cruel man who was not hesitant to use violence as a means of making his point. He took great pleasure in his job; he would whip a female slave until she was profusely bleeding in front of her children (Douglass, 17). By doing so, this was used as a means of fear to prevent other slaves from acting out. It also prevented the children from fighting out, and it opened up their eyes at an early stage to their reality of their lives. It instilled fear in their lives to keep them from thinking about escape.
In the south an overseer had to be harsh because if they were not then there was a fear that the slaves would abuse it. To show the effect of the overseers in the sl...
... middle of paper ...
...pped again the next day. He had finally had enough and choose to make a stand, that day he made a decision to never again go down without a fight. He was tired of being oppressed.
His strength was derived from the books he had read and dreams he had on being free. His will power was stronger than the situation that he was in. This is something that other slaves did not have, they did not know any other lifestyle and they did not know how to read so they had no way to escape the situation and get lost in a book. His ability to adapt and his social skills are what helped him finally escape after dreaming about it for so long. What Douglass had where so many other slaves lack was a purpose and a plan. With those two things he was able to escape. Douglass was able to push past all the violence, fear, and psychological effects of the slavery system and gain his freedom.
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