The Golden Rule found in Luke 6:31 says, “Do unto others as you have them do upon you”. During the early 1800’s humans were brutally abused by other humans. In 1844, Frederick Douglass illustrates his brutal time as a slave through his narrative The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass. Douglass writes his story using rhetorical elements to convey that slavery should be abandoned because it takes a mental and physical toll on the slaves plus, that slaves need to try and escape from slavery. Douglass uses logos and a periodic sentence to apply logical details to show how worthless and what value the slaves were to the slaveholders.
In “The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass” Frederick Douglass talks about his life as a slave ,and the challenges that he went through ,but he also tells how slaveholders were affected during slavery. Frederick Douglass talks about how slaveholders have great powers over their slaves. Being the slaveholder can enforce that you are above the slave ,and that you are allowed to do what you please to you “property” ,and that could corrupt your humanity. One example of this is Sophie Auld. Sophie Auld was a kind and generous slaveholder ”I was utterly astonished at her goodness”(Douglass 45); she even helped teach Frederick Douglass to write, but after she had been the master of Douglass for a while she started to become inhumane, cruel, and malice.
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. Throughout the narrative, he is articulate in how he writes, and it shows the reader that he is well educated.
The Impact of Frederick Douglass on American Culture. “Though slavery was abolished, the wrongs of my people were not ended. Though they were not slaves, they were not yet quite free. No man can be truly free whose liberty is dependent upon the thought, feeling, and action of others, and who has no means in his own hands for guarding, protecting, defending, and maintaining his liberty”. In Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” Douglass explores his past as being a slave, telling how he overcame being enslaved and escaped to the north.
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.
It’s globally known that the relationship between slaves and owners were abusive and unbalanced. Both male and female slaves endured horrible conditions and punishments brought on by their masters, but a woman’s slave-experience proves to be very different than a man’s. While women had to experience the abuse that came with their race, they also had to experience the oppression that came along with their gender. Regardless of viewing and treating them as animals, many male slave owners still had a sexual attraction and sense of protection over the female slave- sometimes even developing feelings for them. This creates a dangerous situation where not only the men have control over how the women work, but they have control over their body and emotions.
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.
An American Slave,” Douglass discusses the horrors of being enslaved and a fugitive slave. Through Douglass’s use of figurative language, diction and repetition he emphasizes the cruelty he experiences thus allowing readers to under-stand his feelings of happiness, fear and isolation upon escaping slavery. Figurative language allocates emotions such as excitement, dread and seclusion. As a slave you have no rights, identity or home. Escaping slavery is the only hope of establishing a sense of self and humanity.
After having read both Frederick Douglass’s Narrative and Harriet Jacobs’s Incident 1. How were Douglass and Jacobs similar and different in their complaints against slavery? What accounts for these differences? 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.
“One who is a slaveholder at heart never recognizes a human being in a slave” (Angelina Grimke). This quote was created to show the effect that slavery had on not only the slave, but the slaveholder. The slaveholder would dehumanize the slave to the point where the human was no longer recognizable; instead, the slave was property. Throughout this autobiography, Frederick Douglass uses language to portray the similarities and differences between the two sides. He allows the reader to spend a day in the life of a slave to see the effects from it.
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.
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 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
“With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression.” This relates to the hardships and the fact that the people don’t recognize how terrible it is. And that these meanings of these “free” words mean something else to him and other slaves. He shows that the changes are hard but once they are made everything will be peaceful. Rhetorical features and strategies are Douglass’ forte’ in engaging with the audience.