Frederick Douglass Physical Abuse

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In his Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Frederick Douglass describes in vivid detail his experiences of being a slave. In his novel Douglass talks about what it was like to move from location to location and what it was like to work long, hard hours with less than substantial sustenance. Eventually he escapes the clutches of slavery but not before he endured beatings, forced hard labor and emotional mistreatment. During his time as a slave he was tasked with various kinds of work and after he became free he worked as a speaker who advocated for abolition of slavery. In his novel Douglass gives us a critique of slavery that is effective in translating the ideas of how cruel slavery was by using the idea of work to call attention to not only the physical, but also mental abuses dealt to him and…show more content…
Douglass gives us a critique of slavery by describing the mistreatments of slavery he was forced to endure. Throughout the book Douglass describes the physical abuse he endured while a slave but to more accurately capture the atmosphere of slavery he explained the mental abuse he sustained as well. At a certain point in the narrative he talks about how he was eventually allowed to work at a ship yard as a caulker. While he worked there he received a weekly wage but at the end of the week he was obligated to give all of his earnings to his master. This ritual was accompanied with the idea that if a slave is deprived of his earnings he will not desire them at all but sometimes Douglass’ owner would give him some money to encourage him to keep working but instead, “[I]t had the opposite effect. I regarded it as a sort of admission of my right to the whole. The fact that he gave me any part of my wages was proof, to my mind, that he believed me entitled to the whole of them.” (Douglass, 97) Douglass is showing how this is mental abuse
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