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Mary Prince A West Indian Slave Analysis

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Freedom is Sweet
In her narrative “The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave”, Mary Prince presents the appalling details of the lives of slaves to pose an argument against slavery. Prince was born into slavery and never received the sweet freedom she so desired for herself, but wrote her narrative in hopes that it would provide the influence necessary to free the world from the chains of slavery. Limiting and destructive, slavery presented itself in every aspect of Prince’s life, from when she was separated from her family and husband, to when she had to dictate her story since slaves were never taught to write. Nevertheless, Prince persevered to recount the dangers of slavery in a short narrative portraying the unique struggles of women
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As a slave herself , Prince is reliable when she argues that she has never heard one slave say they were happy in slavery, while slave masters continuously tell such lies to ensure the practice of slavery continues. As Prince concludes her narrative, she asks the audience “How can slaves be happy when they have the halter round their neck and the whip upon their back? And are disgraced and thought of no more than beasts?” (262). Through her explanation of slavery from a slave’s perspective, Prince portrays the impossibility of happiness under such terms. Nobody exhibits happiness with knowledge that their next beating is right around the corner for the sheer entertainment of their master. Prince’s application of rhetorical questions emphasizes the unhappiness of slaves under slavery and ironically portrays them as animals by the same people who argue that they are happy with current living conditions. This further validates Prince’s claim against slavery, but she continues to pine for abolition by giving the audience alternatives to slave…show more content…
Frederick Douglass also symbolizes the corruption of slavery on slaveholders through his characterization of Mrs. Auld. When Douglas first met Mrs. Auld, she was the first kind face he had seen, but after years under the influence of slavery, her heart grew cold and she proceeded to beat him. Similar to Douglass, Prince recalls an experience she had with the son of her owner Master D-. In the beginning of Prince’s life, children had been her one source of compassion that shared a different complexion. Children were undefiled by the evils of slavery, like Prince’s childhood friend, Miss Betsy, who cried when they were separated. However, as children grow under the circumstances of inconceivable cruelty, their character mirrors their surroundings. Prince characterizes her owner's child, Master Dickey as having “no heart-no fear of God; he had been brought up by a bad father in a bad path, and he delighted to follow in the same steps” (246). Master Dickey was raised in an environment that prompted bad behavior: slavery. Prince’s diction is significant with the repetition of “bad” and the ironic use of “delighted”. Prince’s use of repetition ingrains the atrocious conditions into the reader's mind and ensures he or she understood how corruptive it was. Additionally, Prince uses irony to express that although Master Dickey was headed down a terrible path,
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