Individuals can empathize and grow from learning from the past experiences of others. The pre-civil war era in United States was a time where many humans were mistreated both psychologically and physically. Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave gives readers the opportunity to understand exactly how America’s history shaped modern-day social norms and behaviors. Douglass’ personal account not only positively influenced the abolitionist movement, but raised questions of morality and human rights. The story of Frederick Douglass’ life shows exactly the repercussions of humans unjustly mistreating other humans. It is natural human tendency to act in one’s own self-interest, and the era where slavery …show more content…
Masters, or the so-called oppressors, dehumanized themselves through their own actions as seen when Douglass says, “They never knew when they were safe from punishment. They were frequently whipped when least deserving, and escaped whipping when most deserving it” (326). This quote indicates that masters believed that owning slaves was like a game of power. As seen in the text, they played mind games on their slaves. Lloyd, the oppressor in this example, reinforces aggressive behavior and negative human qualities in his own mind by pursuing actions like these. One can infer that this reinforcement deprives Lloyd and masters alike of their sense of compassion, empathy and sympathy for others. The above qualities are what make humans human. The various forms of oppression dehumanize the oppressed and even the oppressors, however dehumanization is a learned behavior when Douglass states, “Why his career was so short, I do not know, but suppose he lacked the necessary severity to suit Colonel Lloyd” (329). This text suggests that the previous overseer, Hopkins, was fired because he did not possess certain qualities of an oppressor. Due to not meeting the standards of Colonel Lloyd, Lloyd may have had “little” compassion for the slaves. This is evidence that dehumanization is learned from others because Hopkins was not innately born to suit the needs of a slave owner. In addition, the interactions between Douglass and the Aulds illustrate this concept, “Just at this point of my progress, Mr. Auld found out what was going on, and at once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read” (338). Not only does this text show that Mrs. Auld originally was not mistreating other humans, but it is a turning point in the life of Mrs. Auld. This text
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Douglass said; "I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!" (Douglass, pg. 105.) Douglass viewed himself not as a person, as an object. Expressing his weaknesses he’s developed by being a slave to the audience showed them he wasn’t just a field hand, Douglass was a person with emotions and feelings.
In The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass depicts his life through emotional, physical, and mental abuse by these slaveholders. Both the slave and the slaveholders are affected in dehumanization. One can coincide with Douglass that slavery had dehumanized both slaves and their slave holders. The slave and slaveholder are making actions based upon false truth.
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.
In life, humans have many different traits that describes themself. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass shows life a slave in the nineteenth century. In the story, Douglass brings us back in time to show his experiences of the hypocrisy of human nature. Disputes with Douglass and his masters are seen throughout the story showing both the good and bad traits of human nature. American literature of the nineteenth century reveals that human nature embodies contrasting traits such as love and cruelty through the uses of literary devices.
Lastly, Douglass’ explains his thought on slavery and from what he says it becomes ironic. One of the ironies in the book that Douglass talks about is how religious slaves are more cruel than non-religious slaves. In chapter 9, Douglass’ master, Thomas Auld, became
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.
The legendary abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass was one of the most important social reformers of the nineteenth century. Being born into slavery on a Maryland Eastern Shore plantation to his mother, Harriet Bailey, and a white man, most likely Douglass’s first master was the starting point of his rise against the enslavement of African-Americans. Nearly 200 years after Douglass’s birth and 122 years after his death, The social activist’s name and accomplishments continue to inspire the progression of African-American youth in modern society. Through his ability to overcome obstacles, his strive for a better life through education, and his success despite humble beginnings, Frederick Douglass’s aspirations stretched his influence through
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.
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,
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 explains that the slaves do not say anything bad about their slaveholders. Furthermore, there are fights between slaves who disagree which of their masters is better. Through their masters’ attempts to promote slavery, the slaves have been taught to think that “the greatness of their masters [is] transferrable to themselves”(31). The disloyalty was brought about by not being able to talk bad about their masters. Douglass also discloses that slaves “suppress the truth rather than take the consequences of telling it,” in the pursuit of self preservation, which can cause them to betray their fellow slaves (30).
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.
Group Essay on Frederick Douglass “That this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system”, and that Frederick Douglass does in his eponymous autobiography. Douglass throws light by dispelling the myths of the slave system, which received support from all parts of society. To dispel these myths Douglass begins to construct an argument composed around a series of rhetorical appeals and devices. Douglass illustrates that slavery is dehumanizing, corrupting, and promotes Christian hypocrisy. Using telling details, Douglass describes the dehumanizing effects of the slave system which condones the treatment of human beings as property.
In the 1700-1800’s, the use of African American slaves for backbreaking, unpaid work was at its prime. Despite the terrible conditions that slaves were forced to deal with, slave owners managed to convince themselves and others that it was not the abhorrent work it was thought to be. However, in the mid-1800’s, Northern and southern Americans were becoming more aware of the trauma that slaves were facing in the South. Soon, an abolitionist group began in protest, but still people doubted and questioned it.
Slavery is equally a mental and a physical prison. Frederick Douglass realized this follow-ing his time as both a slave and a fugitive slave. Douglass was born into slavery because of his mother’s status as a slave. He had little to go off regarding his age and lineage. In the excerpt of the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass