Slave Narratives

Powerful Essays
Slave narratives provide eloquent arguments against the inhumane practice of slavery and serve as crucial documentations of America’s reprehensible history. Frederick Douglass, a famous black abolitionist, fearlessly published his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass seven years after his escape from bondage. Douglass powerfully details the physical hardships of a male slave and the evils that occurred within slave plantations. Similarly, Harriet Jacobs–once free–published her narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Jacobs tackles the emotional tribulations inflicted upon herself and other women of color by their white masters. Jacobs and Douglass published their narratives to demonstrate to the public that slavery is destructive…show more content…
Part way through her narrative, Jacobs describes the different slave owners that were in the county. Mr. Litch was a master that Jacobs described to be ill-bred, uneducated, and very wealthy. She claims that being one of his slaves is especially dangerous. She claims, “There was a jail and a whipping post on his grounds; and whatever cruelties were perpetrated there, they passed without comment. He was so effectually screened by his great wealth that he was called to no account for his crimes, not even for murder”(Jacobs 44). This tangent about Mr. Litch is to prove to her audience the hypocrisy of democracy in the South. Democracy should be blind to the wealth of a person, but in the south, wealthy white men are exempt from the law. Mr. Litch is so wealthy that he can get away with ‘even’ murder writes Jacobs. The use of ‘even’ is to show her disbelief at the system. Also, Jacobs includes this anecdote to show that in the south, blacks are not considered people. This impact of the story is intended to anger the abolitionist readers to be more radical and be more vocal about their desire for change. Furthermore, in Douglass’ narrative he too explores the undemocratic ways of the south. After Douglass challenges the overseer, Mr. Covey, to a duel, Douglass wins. He describes the win as a momentous change in his life on the plantation. “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” (Douglass 43). The battle between Mr. Covey and Douglass shows the primitive and subjective nature of the laws in slave-holding communities. Instead of there being law and regulation as there is in the rest of the United States, this battle proves that violence is rampant in the plantations. This scene furthers Douglass’ association between slavery and
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