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.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery as the son of a white slave master father and a black slave mother in Maryland in 1818. He escaped from slavery in 1838 because of his literacy. It was only due to his ability to read, write, and think critically that Frederick Douglass was able to find his way form enslavement to freedom.
Frederick Douglass was a great writer, but he wasn’t always. He was an escaped slave who used that in his speeches as a topic to gain the attention of his audience. His audience was a seemingly sympathetic one and got to them through rhetorical questions. Douglass wanted to convey the message that there are many changes that need to be made.
Although a century apart, Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and Frederick Douglass’s What to a Slave is the fourth of July are kindred spirits. Notwithstanding the many differences in their respective writing styles, deep down the essence of the message conveyed is still very much the same. Both Martin Luther King Junior and Frederick Douglas had similar beliefs and concepts related to the treatment of the African American community. They both describe a tough yet heart breaking situation that makes them question their moral values and doubt the system and its ability to change for better. Both King and Douglass were advocating for the same thing: their constitutional sanction of freedom.
Douglass encountered multiple harsh realities of being enslaved. For example, the ex-slave was practically starved to death by his masters on multiple occasions. In fact, “[He was] allowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else...It was not enough for [him] to subsist upon...A great many times [he had] been nearly perishing with hunger” (pg 31). 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
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. However Douglass points out that it is not the fault of the slave owner but because of the slaves since Mr. Sever “[took] no pleasure in it”. He continues to develop the corruption of the slaveholder when Mr. Plummer: “the louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where theblood ran fastest, there he whipped longest.”(Douglass 20). Mr. Plummer is the typical slaverholder is the outcome
Abolitionism was a well-known movement around the time of the Civil War and its aim was to put an end to slavery. The people of the early nineteenth century viewed the elimination of slavery in numerous ways. Some fought against the end of slavery, some appeared to mildly support the cause and yet others wholeheartedly supported the ending of slavery until their dying day.
Using telling details, Douglass describes the dehumanizing effects of the slave system which condones the treatment of human beings as property. For example, when one landowner would pass his belongings to another, “men
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.
Douglass uses experience from his early days as a young slave to throw light on the aspect of physical abuse. According to his narrative, Douglass states, “Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder. It required extraordinary barbarity on the part of an overseer to affect him. He was a cruel man, hardened by a
Slavery can easily be determined as one of the most blatant acts of dehumanization. In the narrative titled “Narrative Of The Life of Frederick Douglass”, Douglass is easily able to portray this by quoting, “I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man”, Chapter 10 page 45. The quote overall does illustrate to the reader the narrator’s reflection to slavery as a whole as he states they were deprived of not only their basic
Frederick Douglass’, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a condensed narrative that retells the story of Douglass’ life as a slave from childhood until his escape as an adult. Douglass’ life consisted of various changes that all contributed to the decisions and predicaments he encountered throughout his life. Although he was a slave, in Baltimore for the majority of his life, his descriptions and telling of how slavery slashes both the slave and the slave master are both thought provoking and quite upsetting. The beatings, humiliation, tearing apart of families, and the sexual brutality are all there, laid out in a direct, straightforward style that is somehow more horrifying with its lack of exaggeration.
This book is about Frederick Douglass Narrative, first published in 1845. Born into slavery Douglass became the spokesman for his people during his life. ' 'Incidents in the life of a slave girl ' ' is based on Harriet Jacobs,like Douglass she was born into slavery. Jacob 's brok the silence on the exploitation of african american female slaves.
Douglass was sent to live with Mr. Edward Covey in January 1833. Thomas Auld considered Douglass as a reluctant slave, so he sent to a slave breaker, Edward Dovey.