Frederick Douglass published two similar versions of his fight with the ‘slave-breaker’ Edward Covey in the tenth chapter of his The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, and in the seventeenth chapter of My Bondage and My Freedom. By comparing the two accounts it is possible to see an evolution of his thoughts on abolishing slavery and person hood which occurred in the years which transpired between the two works, 1845 and 1855. In the first account which Douglass wrote at around the age of 27 he narrates a physical confrontation where he refuses to allow himself to be whipped. Douglass struggles for two hours with Covey and also fights off Covey’s cousin at the same time.
Resolving to fight back against Covey thrusts Douglass into manhood and is the first instance of justified violence seen in the novel: “It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood...and inspired me again with a determination to be free” (68). Although up to this point the violence described was portrayed as completely unjust and terrible, here the reader is to understand that, for the slave, this type of violence may not only be necessary, but completely justified when attempting to gain
The Narrative of Frederick Douglass is a very great perspective for people of today to understand what it was like to be a slave in the 1800’s. It tells the story of the slave Frederick Douglass and how he began as an uneducated slave and was moved around from many different types of owners, cruel or nice, and how his and other slaves presences changed the owners, and also how he educated himself and realized that he shouldn’t be treated so poorly It was at the point later in the book that I realized how some slaves might have felt during slavery in the 1800’s. When Douglass is sent away to Mr.Covey he is treated pretty badly but eventually he stands up to Mr.Covey and demands that he stopped being treated like an animal.
This shows that the way a Master behaves around a slave can be very influential, and Douglass explains that he was compelled to give all his hard-earned money to Master Hugh because the influence the Master had on him was to give him everything he worked hard for. Next, on page 10 of his Narrative, Douglass proclaims, “They never knew when they were safe from punishment. They were frequently whipped when least deserving, and escaped whipping when most deserving it. Every thing depended upon the looks of the horses,
In Frederick Douglass’s book, he writes accounts of his time in slavery and beyond. Throughout the book, Douglass writes about not only the physical hardships slaves endured, but the mental and emotional hardships as well. In Chapter X, Douglass describes a battle he had with a temporary slave owner named Mr. Covey. After the fight concludes, Douglass writes, “This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood.
First, Frederick Douglass presents to the audience is the first stage of the moral stages. In Kohlberg's, “Developmental Stages of Human Moral Reason” he describes the first stage as, “fear of punishment and/or obedience to someone in authority,” (1).
Human slavery requires ignorance, just as an individual’s freedom, from oppression, requires knowledge attained by education. To maintain order and control over slaves, slavery demands ignorant slaves; thus, keeping slaves ignorant prevents slaves from recognizing the empowering value of education and education’s ability to liberate slaves from the effects of ignorance. Frederick Douglass’s pursuit of education helped him discover the dark, hidden truths of slavery in his article, “How I Learned to Read and Write.” Thus, the pursuit of education inspires a desire for freedom. The desire to learn generates determination and motivation.
Because of this, he successfully creates a contrast between what the slave owners think of and treat the slaves and how they are. Douglass says that slave’s minds were “starved by their cruel masters”(Douglass, 48) and that “they had been shut up in mental darkness” (Douglass, 48) and through education, something that they were deprived of, Frederick Douglass is able to open their minds and allow them to flourish into the complex people that they are. By showing a willingness to learn to read and write, the slaves prove that they were much more than what was forced upon them by their masters.
Douglass managed to overcome the maltreatment of his wretched slave owners through the eventual attainment of freedom. The injustice imposed upon the African-American slaves by their owners was the crux of Douglass’s motivation to escape this inhumane life. Adolescents in today’s society could use Frederick’s determination as an example of moving forward to better oneself or one’s situation regardless of
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.
Douglass uses paradox to demonstrate that slavery degragrates the slaverholder. When Douglass under Mr. Sever’s care he described that: “He was less cruel, less profane… He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it. ”(Douglass 24). Most slaveholders are characterized to be cruel and inhuman because of the whipping and the way they treated the slaves.
Douglass uses deep characterization to show the change in behavior of slaveholders who have uncontrolled power. A good example of this is Sophia Auld. Before slavery took effect, she was a kind and caring woman who comprehended moral righteousness. She had never owned a slave before Douglass. Owning Douglass soon changed her into an evil slave owner when she realized the power, “the white man’s power to enslave the black man” that she had (Douglass 41).
Douglass begins uses paradox to show how slavery was inhuman by acknowledging how slave overseers treated the slaves when did wrong or doing what was not told by them. ‘’ He would whip her to make her scream and whip her to make her hush. ’’(page 5). Douglass appeals