Frederick Douglass Corruption

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Looking inside from the most basic and primitive lense, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, is a tale about human nature and all its subsidiaries. Douglass delves into the most essential foundation of the humanistic persona -empathy- and moreover: the corruption of it through slavery. Throughout the novel, Frederick Douglass uses zoomorphism to demonstrate just how corrupting the system of slavery is, corrupting the slave and the slaveholder. Douglass personally feels as if his personality and humanism is being sapped from him every second he partakes in the slave system, even though it is not his choice. Douglass illustrates this through his despairing writing, “My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect…show more content…
Beliefs could be considered an essence of what makes people human, the belief in a higher power, or the lack thereof. Relating to Douglass declaring, “Is there any God? Why am I a slave.”(10) Douglass alludes to the Israelites in the Old Testament, who constantly complain about God not helping them, but Douglass uses this allusion ironically, believing he won’t get help with or without complaining, because he has had past masters who claimed to be very religiously good people. Douglass questions the existence of any God because of religious slaveholders, beginning to have a lack of a belief in God due to the slavery system as a whole, as many other slaves had too. This subtle break in of humanism due to slavery properly illustrates just how beliefs start to fall apart, and focus more on attaining freedom before heavenly affinity. This theme of humanism continues into their childhood, whereas Douglass is taught by white boys how to read. This shows the original intent of children, “The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers. With their kindly aid, obtained at different times and in different places, I finally succeeded in learning to read.”(7) The character developement of Douglass’ planning is overshadowed by the humanism inside the children. The white boys Douglass meets have not yet been exposed to severe racism and the hate of black Americans, and humanistically teach Douglass how to read as if he was just another boy. Humanism seems to be an overlooked theme throughout Douglass narrative, the system of thought of putting humans before divinity and emphasizing human empathy is truly a large theme in how slavery has
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