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.
PAGE 2 In the Narrative Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, he uses this text to explain his purpose in “throwing light on the American slave system”, or show it for what it really is, as well as show his position on how he strongly believes slavery is an issue that needs to be addressed and how it differs from those who defended slavery, with experiences from his own life to support his argument. Douglass uses experience from his early days as a young slave to throw light on the aspect of physical abuse. According to his narrative, Douglass states, “Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder.
Douglass managed to overcome the maltreatment of his wretched slave owners through the eventual attainment of freedom. The injustice imposed upon the African-American slaves by their owners was the crux of Douglass’s motivation to escape this inhumane life. Adolescents in today’s society could use Frederick’s determination as an example of moving forward to better oneself or one’s situation regardless of
His year with Covey was a life changing experience. Under Covey, Douglass worked the land day and night in all weathers. For the first six months he was constantly beaten and severely punished to increase his productivity. He was whipped with sticks or cow skin. Douglass experienced an “epoch in my humble history,” and explains to readers that “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.”
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 was fearless in many ways. For instance, in the beginning of chapter 10, Douglass is sent away from his master, Master Thomas, to live with Mr. Covey. Mr. Covey was known for breaking slaves, but Frederick was not worried what would happen because he did not think he could be broken. This shows how fearless he truly was.
Frederick Douglass published two similar versions of his fight with the ‘slave-breaker’ Edward Covey in the tenth chapter of his The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, and in the seventeenth chapter of My Bondage and My Freedom. By comparing the two accounts it is possible to see an evolution of his thoughts on abolishing slavery and person hood which occurred in the years which transpired between the two works, 1845 and 1855. In the first account which Douglass wrote at around the age of 27 he narrates a physical confrontation where he refuses to allow himself to be whipped. Douglass struggles for two hours with Covey and also fights off Covey’s cousin at the same time.
Obviously, a slave is bound to his master , so when Douglass hits Mr. Covey it speaks a powerful message to the general public. He feels at ease, and almost free when he disobeys his master, a path which many slaves wouldn't dare to take. Douglass also was taught to read and write, a forbidden task among slaves as it could make them have status and plot ways to escape their masters, by Mrs. Auld, a former mistress of his. So when Douglass was “sent of errands” he always “took his book” with himself and “by going one part of “ his “errand quickly” he would find “time to get a lesson” before he returned to the Aulds household (Douglass). When Mrs. Auld taught Douglass how to read, it brought his perspective of life as a slave to a whole new level.
He was lavish with the whip, sparing with his word. I have seen that man tie up men by the two hands, and for two hours, at intervals, ply the lash. I have seen women stretched up on the limbs of trees, and their bare backs made bloody with the lash. Frederick Douglass had a overseer which spoke to be obeyed so almost every slave felt nothing but fear by him. Douglass had seen the overseer tie up the hands of men and women and lashed them for hours until their backs were covered in nothing but blood.
There was a certain incident when he talks back to his master. Following this incident, his master sends him to work for the most well known notorious "slave breaker," Covey. Covey tries to destroy Douglass's spirit. For a while it works, and Douglass breaks and is demeened to the state of mind of an animal. Thus forcing him to the lowest mental point in his life.
Douglass reiterates multiple times throughout the narrative how he is starved, deprived of clothing and beaten in his time as a slave. As a child, Douglass describes
After being separated from his mother at a young age, Frederick Douglass fights back against slavery and human rights. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, the author, Frederick Douglass, uses powerful rhetoric to disprove the Pragmatic and the Scientific pro-slavery arguments of Pre-Civil War America.
Frederick Douglass’s Hope for Freedom Hope and fear, two contradictory emotions that influence us all, convicted Frederick Douglass to choose life over death, light over darkness, and freedom over sin. Douglass, in Chapter ten, pages thirty-seven through thirty-nine, of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, utilizes various rhetorical techniques and tone shifts to convey his desperation to find hope in this time of misery and suffering. Mr. Covey, who Douglass has been sent to by his master to be broken, has succeeded in nearly tearing all of Douglass’s dreams of freedom away from him. To expound on his desires to escape, Douglass presents boats as something that induces joy to most but compels slaves to feel terror. Given the multiple uses of repetition, antithesis, indirect tone shifts, and various other rhetorical techniques, we can see Douglass relaying to his audience the hardships of slavery through ethos, the disheartening times that slavery brings, and his breakthrough of determination to obtain freedom.
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.