The Narrative Of The Life Of Fredrick Douglass

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The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass presents an insight into the power differences between a slave and his master. In this account , Douglass proves that slavery destroys not only the slave but also the owner. The “poison of irresponsible power” that masters hold has a damaging effect on their morals and beliefs (Douglas 39). This immense control in the hands of a person will break their kind heart and finest feelings turning them into those of a demon. Douglass uses flashbacks , deep characterization, and appeals to the emotions to address the negative effects of slavery. Douglass recounts his own life events to show the difficulties faced when a master plays the role of a father. He explains that the vile desires of the owner will destroy the lives of his children, “The master is forced to sell his mulatto children or constantly whip them out of deference to the feelings of his white wife“ (Douglass 17). This situation destroys the …show more content…

One character is Sophia Auld, Hugh Auld’s wife. Before slavery took its complete effect, she was a sympathetic and nice woman who understood moral righteousness. However, recognizing “ the white man’s power to enslave the black man,” she transformed into an evil and cruel owner (Douglass 40). “The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work”(Douglass 39). Another example is Thomas Auld, having come into ownership of his slaves through marriage, he was not used to the power and responsibility of owning slaves. By using his religion as sanction, he could be a cruel and inhumane man while still having support. The alteration of kind to cruel is an important component to prove the dehumanizing effects of slavery on slaveholders. This characterization provides a powerful argument that slavery is not only bad for slaves, but slave owners

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