The principle of partus sequitur ventrem meant that any child born to a slave woman would be also be a slave, regardless of who the father was. Jacobs describes how one mother, watched in horror as her seven children were sold: "She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives to-day in my mind. She wrung her hands in anguish, and exclaimed, 'Gone!
Douglass has shown how religious slaveholders are the worst especially when entertainment comes into play. The first being from one of his slaveholders Master Thomas, he whipped a young woman while reading a quote from the scripture to explain his reason for whipping her. The next example was with his other Master Mr.Covey, he would go to church and preach the word but come back beating slaves and going against the almighty God. The last example that is shown is again shown with Mr.Covey, he was guilty of compelling his woman slave to commit the sin of adultery. All of the examples illustrate that religious slaveholders are worst than non-religious slaveholders.
Although he never had the chance to view the complexion of his mother, he loved her. The affection Douglass and his mother had for each other shows endearment, thus proving that whites are not the only ones with genuine feelings of attachment and love. Douglass mentions the first time he witnessed a brutal whipping of another slave, and it was his Aunt Hester. He depicts a very cruel image in the reader’s mind, using very descriptive details on the whipping of his aunt. He stated “Before he commenced to whipping Aunt Hester, he took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from the neck to the waist, leaving her neck, shoulders, and back entirely naked.” (pg 24) Douglass demonstrates yet again the non merciful consideration of the slave owners.
For him learning to read was a major turning point in his quest for freedom and it enabled him to put out his book, which would inspire many to turn against slavery. Douglass also emphasizes how owning slaves does not only hurt the slave but the slave owner. He says that owning
Sethe is the female protagonist in Beloved. She lost her mother at a very early age and she too is a slave. She was brought to the Sweet Home Plantation as a slave where she marries Halle Suggs and bears four children from him. She as a slave suffers a lot inhumane treatment at the plantation by the white masters. She is thrashed hardheartedly and milked like a cow.
The most dehumanizing experience of a slave, as introduced by Douglass, includes: humiliation, emotional trauma, inequality, and physical abuse. Douglass, a man of wisdom, character, and determination; fought liberally and strategically, to surmount the odds of being deprived of his humanity while enslaved. Douglass, along with many other slaves, experienced the most gruesome epidemic that America was granted in history. Slaves were treated badly, and often seen as an epitome to society in the south. In the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” he foreshadows his experience as a slave, and explains some of the most dehumanizing experiences, from blood bashed beatings to intense emotional trauma.
Aunt Hester went out with another slave after her owner ordered her not to and it was after curfew. Arriving back later than intended, she came back to a common but overly aggressive reaction of her owner: “After rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor. I was so terrified and horror-stricken at the sight, that I hid myself in a closet… ” (Douglass 1942). Detailing the events of these frequent and inhumane treatments of the slaves, Douglass tunes in to the emotions of the readers, especially fellow abolitionists. He uses the tools of imagery to paint a picture in the reader’s mind and outrage them at the horrible lives slaves are forced to live.
Almost all the slaves lost their loved ones, and many others were given to abusive masters. This is especially seen when George opens up about how he wishes his life were different and he had never met Tom and Eliza, because it would be less painful than losing them completely. Other characters that were separated from their families are Topsy and Cassy. Both of these characters have done terrible things as a result, such as Cassy and her child and Topsy acting out. Along with being emotionally hurt, slaves were also beaten and mistreated, like at Legree’s.
When Patsy returns late from Mistress Shaw’s on a Sunday, the jealous nature of Master Epps provokes him to anger and violently whips her. This extreme trauma causes Patsy to approach Solomon, begging him to assist her in suicide, to which he refuses. Toward the end of the film, the character of Patsy arches from a favored slave and valuable picker to a target of wrath and abuse. Her character is a testament to the cruelty and dehumanization of slavery in the
In the case of bondwomen they lived through two-fold submission. Despite of being owned by white men as slaves they were also subject to the sexual claims of white masters. Added to the hardships that derived from their condition as slaves, which their male counterparts also endured, they had to suffer the consequences of being slave women, which involved experiences that were specific to their own kind. Jacobs going through the bitter spell of slavery delivers a baby girl. It is interesting to quote her when she knew that her baby was a girl.
The author tells how sad is the life of a slave girl and how, as soon as she is old enough, and against her will, she would learn about the malice of the world. Meanwhile, male slaves rarely suffered from such abuse, and different from women, slavery mostly affected their manliness. As Douglas says while describing one of the oversees: "It was enough to chill the blood and stiffen the hair of an ordinary man to hear him talk." By saying so, he proved how, at a very patriarchal time, male slaves completely lost the bravery and "superiority" often used to describe white men. Therefore, slavery did have some different effects towards women and men, but always towards a worse condition.
Through stories such as that of Frederick Douglass, and that of Harriet Jacobs you can truly see how despicable the act of slavery was. These true nonfictional stories show the true dynamic of how male and female slaves were treated. Slaves were physically and mentally degraded, without shelter and clothes. Working both day and night, with their masters never being pleased. These people were dehumanized and taken advantage of, with no respect to the fact that they were human beings.