The Douglass’s Narrative reveals very many things about the lives of the American slaves. The lives of the slaves were very hard. They were treated unfairly treated. American slave women were used for giving birth and having kids against their will. As soon as the slave child was born, they would sell the slave child. The slave owner’s reason for selling the slave child was because it was more than likely their child. Slave owners did not want to see their child being whipped so they would sell it to another slave owner. By selling the child, the mother would never get to know her own child. Also, the child doesn't get to know it's mother. For example, in Frederick Douglass’s case, he didn't know much about his mother. He saw his mother four
Christianity was, to the slaves of America, (something with a double meaning). In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave, Frederick Douglass, the author, argues about how Christianity can mean one thing to a free white man and something completely different to a black slave. The slave owners follow the ‘Christianity of the Land’ while the slaves follow the ‘Christianity of Christ.’ Frederick begins to build his credibility to a, white, northern, audience by including documents from trustworthy writers and by getting into personal experiences through his writing.
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.
Many colored individuals were forced into slavery and each and everyone of the slaves had a different experience with their master. The slaves were treated as if they were nothing, a piece of property that the white people owned. They were not allowed to learn how to read or write; only needed to know how to do their chores and understand what their master was saying. They were just an extra hand in the house that had no say or existed in the white people world. The slaves’ job was to obey their master or mistress at all times, do their chores and take the beating if given one. In many occasions, the woman house slaves were treated more cruelty than any other slaves the master owned. Reading four different stories from four different people
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
One of the reasons slavery was worse for women was the sexual exploitation that they were put through. Men saw slaves as their own property and they took great advantage of their power over them. They believed that they had both power over her actions and her body. Starting at very young ages some women were harassed by their masters for sex, and obeyed because of the terrible consequences of denying them. Masters were allowed to rape their slaves and didn’t get into any trouble for doing so. Masters would often justify their actions of raping their slaves because they claimed that their slaves were seducing them, so they didn’t see it as raping them. Harriet’s master had often tried to find ways to get her to have sex with him and she tried
Jacobs decided to write her autobiography “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” in order to share the true life of enslaved women, since men wrote most autobiographies. She wanted a woman’s perspective and she thought she was obliged to write it because she was well educated for a black woman during the times of slavery. Her life and other people alike her had their lives greatly affected by Andrew Jackson and his political roles during the late 1920’s to early 1950’s. Jackson’s policies, politics, and societal roles during and after his presidency affected the lives of enslaved women in the United States between 1828 and 1850.
Angelina Emily and Sarah Moore Grimke were abolitionists and women’s rights activist during the 19th century. Although Angelina and Sarah were thirteen years apart in age, they lived together their whole lives and were not just sisters, but best friends. They started out life as daughters of a slave owner on a South Carolina plantation. Their father was the Judge John Faucheraud Grimke in Charleston that had served in the State Legislature and the state’s highest court. Mary Smith Grimke, their mother, was also from a prominent South Carolina family.
People who go through similar tragic events often have very different perspectives about rather similar experiences. There are many reasons for people’s stories to different even if they are about the exact same event. People perceive things differently based on things they have been through, how good their memory is, and what their attitude is towards the subject. The stories Slave Narratives by Fredrick Douglass and Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs are both about the writer’s experiences as slaves, yet they are very different. The main differences include their masters, their placement as slaves, and what drove them towards freedom.
In both the inspiring narratives of Narrative in the Life of Fredrick Douglass by Frederick Douglass’s and in Incidents in the life of a slave girl by Harriet Jacobs the respective authors demonstrate the horrors and disparity of slavery in there own ways. They both use their unique experiences in the difference facets of slavery to show a very complete picture of the problems and atrocities of slavery.
Courage is described as “having strength in the face of grief and pain.” This is the exact word I would use to describe the African American writers that have been discussed throughout this course. They have exhibited such a trait by allowing their voice to be heard. There are several
Harriet Jacobs experienced firsthand how slavery within the white household degrades the virtue and motherly instinct of white women. Throughout the 18th century, Jacobs is passed from owner to owner relearning their rules and regulations of the house. Jacobs knew nothing different, but noticed how her owners would slowly change
Mary Rowlandson and Harriet Jacobs both penned a narrative of their time spent in captivity. Though they were born nearly two centuries apart, their imprisonment shared commonalities. The most prevalent common factor between the two narratives is that both autobiographies relate the story of an enslaved mother powerless to come to the aide of her children. Rowlandson bemoans that her “poor wounded child” died in excruciating pain, she was deprived of visiting with her eldest daughter and her son’s location was not disclosed to her (Rowlandson 176-77). Jacobs was dealt a regrettable lot, as well. For several years she was unable to assume the traditional role of a mother as her children lived elsewhere; and even when she was within close proximity to her children, she was only able to hear the voices of her children and at times view their faces through a small peephole, all without them being aware.
In Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs narrative they show how the institution of slavery dehumanizes an individual both physically and emotionally. In Jacobs narrative she talks about how women had it worse than men did in slavery. While men suffered, women had it worse due to sexual abuse. The emotional, physical, and sexual abuse was dehumanizing for anyone.
Frederick Douglass gives many examples of the treatment of women like the following passage: “this is done too obviously to administer to their own lusts, and made a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable; for by this cunning arrangement, the slaveholder, in cases not a few, sustains to his slaves the double relation of master and father.” (Douglass 1183) Through this passage, Douglass brings to light that enslaved women are raped by their masters because of the master’s lust and the master’s desire to produce more slaves. By looking at the passage in the context of the rest of Narrative of Life, Douglass makes it clear that women who are raped by their masters and birth a child from the rape have it worse than others because of the excess brutality they receive from the master’s wife. Douglass’s word choices like “lust” and “wicked” shows that Douglass finds the practice of raping slaves for lust and reproduction to be very displeasing because both of those words are