Whether or not a slave narrative is able to persuade its readers of the inhumanities of slavery, the complexities within slave narratives and the discussions they create should not be overlooked. There is power within the act of writing one’s personal journeys and hardships throughout life, and that power gives former enslaved people the opportunity to express their own thoughts while making changes for future generations. Solomon Northup’s 12 Years A Slave gives a heart-wrenching depiction of what slavery was like in America. If the cruel images of the realities of slavery do not affect readers emotionally, then there is at least hope that the logical arguments raised throughout the novel can persuade those who are unwilling to see slavery …show more content…
Northup goes into great depth when explaining the daily tasks of enslaved people, which slows down the narrative and forces audiences to give their attention to this section of the novel. “The fears and labors of another day begin; and until its close there is no such thing as rest,” Northup explains to the audience, using a cyclical pattern while describing the constant fears. The sentences in this section flow into each other creating a sense of repetition and endlessness, which reflects the constant pain and fear running in the veins of enslaved people. Northup includes this image and description of the daily lives of enslaved people in juxtaposition to Ford’s direction of treating enslaved people kindly in order to get the most profit and labor out of them. On the one hand, Northup focuses on Ford’s kind treatment towards his slaves and Ford’s nonviolent beliefs regarding the institution of slavery, which makes a respectable argument for slave owners to treat their slaves better. On the other hand, Northup goes into depth about the constant pain that slaves must endure. Both of these strategies sustain the logical argument of treating slaves better. Whether a slave owner recognizes the possible benefits of treating slaves better, or recognizes the sheer inhumanity and emotional and physical abuse that slaves experience, Northup’s narrative advocates better treatment of slaves and gives multiple examples of why slave owners should treat slaves better. Can slave narratives change everyone’s perspective on slavery? Of course not. Are either of these arguments that Northup provides going to change everyone’s mind? Probably not. If slave narratives can’t convince racist people and slave owners that what they’re doing is wrong, then is there validity in writing slave narratives? Why do people want to
In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave written by Frederick Douglass, the author asserts that slaves were treated no better than livestock. Douglass supports his claim by giving examples of the hardships he endured while living as a slave. Douglass’s purpose is to connect with the reader on multiple levels in order to abolish slavery. Based on the text, Douglass is writing to people with the power to achieve his goal of abolishing slavery. Douglass, a former slave, experienced the mistreatment of slaves to the worst degree.
The narrative of Frederick Douglas breaks down the very mechanisms used to enslave African Americans; from the deprival of education to an over use and desensitization of violence. What also occurs: is the realization that slavery as a system is able to damage those who are in power and use slavery. Corrupting the morals and empathy of white Americans who come in contact with the societal structure of enslavement. The same cycle which keeps African Americans from breaking free also keeps slave owners on a continuous path of cruelty. As an industry slavery seeks to survive and to do so it must have full support and no opposition; by both parties being changed to fit their roles it is able to do so.
The Detriments of Slavery In Narrative, Frederick Douglass describes his personal experience as a slave and how slavery is dehumanizing. As Douglass strives for freedom from slavery, both mentally and physically, he explains each of his masters and how they change throughout their lives of being slave holders. Douglas argues that slavery is not only physically and mentally detrimental to the slave but additionally, the slave owner. Both slave and slave holders suffer physically from slavery. For a slave, physical suffering is due to lack of necessities or being treated harshly.
The writer does not hide his contempt for those slaveholders characterized as “blood-seeking wretches.” (Twelve Years a Slave 125) Such slaveholders as Tibeats and Edwin Epps, another ruthless plantation owner, who buys Solomon from Mr. Williams, fall exactly into such a category. Nonetheless, soon Northup admits that his life on Epp’s plantation proves to be even worse than working with Tibeats. The writer notes that Epps never spares his whip to extract obedience from the “niggers.” Moreover, “being fond of the bottle” and various violent amusements, Epps repeatedly makes his slaves dance for him in the middle of the night or lashes them around his yard with his whip “just for the pleasure of hearing them screech and scream.”
The idiosyncratic style Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass depicts the discriminatory actions of postcolonial slave owners in the southern United States, which reflects their greed for unpaid labor on their plantations. He employs the metaphor of the book that their masters prohibited them from owning by law throughout the memoir to demonstrate the avarice that drives white slave owners to turn a darker-skinned, intelligent being into a machine for personal benefit for centuries after the colonization of America. Also, the irony further displays the power of greed by expressing the slaveholder’s uncivilized method of forcing another human out of civilization. Furthermore, his use of a paradox of the use of pure religious beliefs to justify a slaveholder’s inhumane treatment reveals their rapacious actions that contradict the teachings of the church.
The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass shows the imbalance of power between slaves and their masters. In his book, Douglass proves that slavery is a destructive force not only to the slaves, but also for the slaveholders. “Poison of the irresponsible power” that masters have upon their slaves that are dehumanizing and shameless, have changed the masters themselves and their morality(Douglass 39). This amount of power and control in contact with one man breaks the kindest heart and the purest thoughts turning the person evil and corrupt. Douglass uses flashbacks that illustrate the emotions that declare the negative effects of slavery.
Frederick Douglass’s narrative provides a first hand experience into the imbalance of power between a slave and a slaveholder and the negative effects it has on them both. Douglass proves that slavery destroys not only the slave, but the slaveholder as well by saying that this “poison of irresponsible power” has a dehumanizing effect on the slaveholder’s morals and beliefs (Douglass 40). This intense amount of power breaks the kindest heart and changes the slaveholder into a heartless demon (Douglass 40). Yet these are not the only ways that Douglass proves what ill effect slavery has on the slaveholder. Douglass also uses deep characterization, emotional appeal, and religion to present the negative effects of slavery.
his plantation, the amount of violence Northup details becomes more frequent, and he describes the fear that all slaves faced at the beginning of the new work day “Then the fears and labours of another day begin; and until its close there is no such thing as rest. He fears he will be caught lagging through the day; he fears to approach the gin house with his basket-load of cotton at night; he fears, when he lies down, that he will oversleep himself in the morning. (Northup, pg.171). Solomon Northup captures the relentless emotional and physical toll that slaves faced every day at the hands of their masters and the hired help.
Throughout the narrative, the author includes his personal stories about experiencing the violence of slavery first-hand. For example, on page 20, he writes about the first time he witnessed a slave, his own aunt, getting the whip. “The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest…I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition… It struck me with awful force. It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery…” The author including his experience of his aunts whipping, in detail, appeals to the emotions of the reader.
Group Essay on Frederick Douglass “That this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system”, and that Frederick Douglass does in his eponymous autobiography. Douglass throws light by dispelling the myths of the slave system, which received support from all parts of society. To dispel these myths Douglass begins to construct an argument composed around a series of rhetorical appeals and devices. Douglass illustrates that slavery is dehumanizing, corrupting, and promotes Christian hypocrisy. Using telling details, Douglass describes the dehumanizing effects of the slave system which condones the treatment of human beings as property.
From this, derives a bond with the reader that pushes their understanding of the evil nature of slavery that society deemed appropriate therefore enhancing their understanding of history. While only glossed over in most classroom settings of the twenty-first century, students often neglect the sad but true reality that the backbone of slavery, was the dehumanization of an entire race of people. To create a group of individuals known for their extreme oppression derived from slavery, required plantation owner’s of the South to constantly embedded certain values into the lives of their slaves. To talk back means to be whipped.
In the 1700-1800’s, the use of African American slaves for backbreaking, unpaid work was at its prime. Despite the terrible conditions that slaves were forced to deal with, slave owners managed to convince themselves and others that it was not the abhorrent work it was thought to be. However, in the mid-1800’s, Northern and southern Americans were becoming more aware of the trauma that slaves were facing in the South. Soon, an abolitionist group began in protest, but still people doubted and questioned it.
An American Slave,” Douglass discusses the horrors of being enslaved and a fugitive slave. Through Douglass’s use of figurative language, diction and repetition he emphasizes the cruelty he experiences thus allowing readers to under-stand his feelings of happiness, fear and isolation upon escaping slavery. Figurative language allocates emotions such as excitement, dread and seclusion. As a slave you have no rights, identity or home. Escaping slavery is the only hope of establishing a sense of self and humanity.
It tells the tale of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York. Solomon is abducted and spends the next 12 years working as a slave. In this essay I will be talking about the similarities and differences between the text, as well as the significance of the text, the audience, purpose and stylistic and formal features (filmic devices). First of all, the similarities between the two films. There are a number of components that are similar.