Then he jumps into a description of his mother, the only family member whom he knows. However, this portrayal is scant because Douglass and his mother are “separated when [he is] but an infant—before [he knows] her as [his] mother”, which “is a common custom” (Douglass 395). Although he defines it as common, this is not commonplace amongst his readers, the white majority, but the slave world. While an enslaved mother loses her child almost immediately after giving birth, the white slaveholding parents nurture their own children and watch them grow up with love and support. The irony in this situation is that these people do not realize that they are tearing families apart all the while making sure that their family stays together.
From this, derives a bond with the reader that pushes their understanding of the evil nature of slavery that society deemed appropriate therefore enhancing their understanding of history. While only glossed over in most classroom settings of the twenty-first century, students often neglect the sad but true reality that the backbone of slavery, was the dehumanization of an entire race of people. To create a group of individuals known for their extreme oppression derived from slavery, required plantation owner’s of the South to constantly embedded certain values into the lives of their slaves. To talk back means to be whipped. To fail to do work to a respectable level means to be sold to another plantation and ripped away from one’s family.
While Douglass’s Narrative is most immediately an autobiographical text, his status as a slave severely limits his account from adhering to its structure. Specifically, because he was effectively born into the world as somebody else’s property, Douglass is “deprived” (1) of even the most basic autobiographical element – his age and birthday. But perhaps even more heartbreaking is his description of his family structure growing up. Douglass establishes that it is custom for children born into slavery to be taken from their mothers as early as one year old; Douglass was no exception. The purpose of this, according to Douglass, can only be an attempt to sever the bond between mother and child, the “inevitable result” (2).
While still a young slave, Douglass’s master forbids his wife from continuing to teach Douglass the alphabet because it did not align with the common worldview that educated slaves had no value to their masters. Douglass never understood the power of a white man to enslave and demean a black man. However, his master’s passionate claim initiated his pursuit towards freedom as he recalls, “From that
The idea of them being an unfit race who was in need of probation and instruction seemed to more closely relate to white Klansmen of the South. Their actions spoke louder than words and it seemed as though they were begging to be put in their place. African Americans were not to be punished, if anything it was the white men. They enslaved African Americans, beat, and battered them for years yet when they finally get their freedom it’s as though life will never continue to flourish. The South proved that they needed probation that was never forced upon them.
There are several parallels between the stories of Joseph and Esther. One of the main commonalities was that they had to make tough choices. Joseph’s story begins with him being favoured by his father which lead to his brothers disliking him. Throughout the book of Genesis, there is a history of fathers and mothers favouring some children more than others, so Joseph’s story does not differ from others in that sense. The difference here is that this imbalance of Jacob’s love resulted in Joseph being sold as a slave by his brothers: “When his brother realized that their father loved him more than them, they grew to hate him – they wouldn’t even speak to him” (Genesis 37:4).
Stowe combining these two factors influences the audience to view him as a human being instead of focusing on his ethnicity and actions. The text states, “I had a father—one of your Kentucky gentleman—who did n't think enough of me to keep me from being sold…I saw my mother put up at sheriff's sale…My master traded with one of the men, and brought my oldest sister… I grew up… no father, no mother, no living soul that cared for me… nothing but whipping, scolding, and starving…my master, takes me right away from my work, my friends, and all I like, and grinds me down into the very dirt! And why? Because, he says, I forgot who I was; he says, to teach me that I am only a nigger!” (Stowe
Throughout the novel the relationship between Jim and Huck grew to the point where Huck no longer cared about the repercussions that came with helping a runaway slave. Huck was even willing to help Jim escape the owner to which he was sold to by the king. Huck was a loyal friend to Jim as was Jim to Huck. At first, Huck saw Jim as a runaway slave who didn’t really matter because he was black. Since Huck was young the idea that slaves were beneath him had been implemented and he believed it because society upheld this idea.
To the North, slavery was morally wrong as well as cruel. Many movements were made after the second great enlightenment that pushed for the end of slavery. However, the South believed otherwise; the South desired for an expansion to slavery. This may be due to a rising fear of the south due to the majority having little to no education. This causes many to have their livelihoods controlled by hoe of the upper-class plantation owners or of their respective families, and thus usually, only children of said owners would ever receive an education of sorts.