preview

Frederick Douglass Dehumanization Analysis

Powerful Essays
Dehumanization had been apparent for many centuries through numerous civilizations. Egyptians used slaves to build the pyramids working days at a tie under the blistering sun. In ancient Greece, the upper classes used slaves as entertainment, fighting exotic beasts to the death. These cultures all used slaves and kept them under control by dehumanization. Although terrible, the United States followed in the footsteps of these other powerful civilizations using slaves to propel their own economy. Douglass exploits the wrongdoings of slavery in his narrative. Through descriptive story telling in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the contrast of religion and Douglass’s vivid reality leads to the emphasization of the dehumanizing…show more content…
When slaveholders are compared to as horrible and ferocious beasts, it explains their brutality and carelessness. Meanwhile the slaves are often compared to as fragile and weak animals or as dirty barn animals. This gives insight into their lives and daily living conditions. After Douglass escapes the chains of slavery he describes his lonely existence in the first few days due to the unwavering acts of man hunters. He is alone and weak, but “among fellow-men, yet feeling as if in the midst of wild beasts, whose greediness to swallow up the trembling and half-famished fugitive is only equalled by that with which the monsters of the deep swallow up the helpless fish upon which they subsist” (109). These manhunters are beasts waiting for their prey to enter their trap. They prey on the confusion of newly escaped slaves and benefit from their pain since they receive compensation for returning a slave. The word choice Douglass uses only furthers his point about how crazy and awful the white people can become. Slaves are treated like animals and this is clearly explained during the yearly distribution of clothes and food. He describes that “children from seven to ten years old, of both sexes, almost naked, might be seen at all seasons of the year. There were no beds given the slaves, unless one coarse blanket be considered such, and none but the men and women had these”…show more content…
Douglass believes that a religious slaveholder is the worst type of slaveholder and this is proven after his master goes to a camp. He hoped that this camp would either make him want to emancipate his slaves or at least make him more sympathetic. He describes that “in August, 1832, my master attended a Methodist camp-meeting held in the Bay-side, Talbot county, and there experienced religion. (...) It neither made him to be humane to his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before” (71). This is a turning point in the book, because it clearly demonstrates his experiences with religion when also giving a first hand story of a conversion. To Douglass and many others, religion meant equality and kind behavior, but southern religion is contradictory. It confuses Douglass how a God could be different to different people. He clearly addresses his relationship with religion in the appendix when he states that he is religious, but only to a religion that is fair and peaceful. After his master goes to the religious camp, he comes back even more barbaric than before. The reason for this is because now he has support from fellow religious slaveholding mean and also has justification for his wrong doings. The basic moral of men know that slaveholding
Get Access