A slave once said to himself that he wished he was an animal, “Anything… just to get rid of thinking.” After reading this excerpt, Life of Frederick Douglass, learning more horrid things about slavery, the criminal and unaccepting ways of the enslavers, and the struggles of the slaves, I now know what us “white’s” have done wrong in our history. We treated others of different colors as if they were different, unpleasant to the eyes, or unintelligent — but the one thing we didn 't see in them is that they too, were human. Who is Frederick Douglass? When Douglass was young, he had been sent to Baltimore along with someone named Hugh Auld, a relative of his first master.
As a slave, he determined that his intense desire in his life was getting education and found a way for hisfreedom. When Frederick was eight, he was sent to Baltimore as a houseboy for Hugh Auld, Captain 's son-in-law 's brother. Sophia, Auld 's wife, taught Frederick to read, but Auld, who believed that education would ruin slaves, made them unhappy and run away; so that Sophia turned to cruelty and became an evil with inhuman as the slavery being. From that point on, Frederick was grateful Hugh Auld and his wife who unwittingly gave Douglass the key to escape slavery because he realized that education and knowledge would be enlightenment and the path to freedomfor himself and his colored people later. He continued teaching himself to read and tried to grow up his knowledge by learning from the local boys in exchanging for reading lessons, the ships’ carpenters, and theMethodist hymn books.
This shows that the way a Master behaves around a slave can be very influential, and Douglass explains that he was compelled to give all his hard-earned money to Master Hugh because the influence the Master had on him was to give him everything he worked hard for. Next, on page 10 of his Narrative, Douglass proclaims, “They never knew when they were safe from punishment. They were frequently whipped when least deserving, and escaped whipping when most deserving it. Every thing depended upon the looks of the horses,
In Frederick Douglass’s book, he writes accounts of his time in slavery and beyond. Throughout the book, Douglass writes about not only the physical hardships slaves endured, but the mental and emotional hardships as well. In Chapter X, Douglass describes a battle he had with a temporary slave owner named Mr. Covey. After the fight concludes, Douglass writes, “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.
Frederick Douglass in his narrative “Why I learned to Read and Write” demonstrates how he surpassed many obstacles along the way towards getting an education. These obstacles not only shaped Frederick’s outlook on life but also influenced him in his learning to read and write. Frederick’s main challenge was that of not being an owner of his person but rather a slave and a property to someone else. Frederick Douglass lived in the time when slavery was still taking place and slaveholders viewed slavery and education as incompatible. The slave system didn’t allow mental or physical freedom for slaves; slaveholders were to keep the apt appearance and slaves were to remain ignorant.
Furthermore, Education opened Douglass’s eyes to the reality of his injustice as a slave; thus, compelling him to action as he recalls, “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. ”(Douglass, 2014, p.133) Education caused Douglass heartache. While attaining his education benefited Douglass, he could not relate to his fellow slaves. The fellow slaves had the ability to remain content with their current state of being since it was all they had ever known. Douglass knew otherwise and longed for the forbidden life as a free man, as it changed from an unattainable idea into an achievable
Douglass encountered multiple harsh realities of being enslaved. For example, the ex-slave was practically starved to death by his masters on multiple occasions. In fact, “[He was] allowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else... It was not enough for [him] to subsist upon... A great many times [he had] been nearly perishing with hunger” (pg 31).
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.
Although Frederick Douglass was not expected to be literate, he taught himself how because he believed that education should be for everyone, not just a few privileged children. Frederick Douglass was a slave for life in the southern United States before the Civil War. He had no regular teacher because, at that time, most slave owners did not believe that their slaves should be taught to read and write. White slave owners thought that if slaves knew how to read, they would go against their owners and fight against slavery.
Slavery is equally a mental and a physical prison. Frederick Douglass realized this follow-ing his time as both a slave and a fugitive slave. Douglass was born into slavery because of his mother’s status as a slave. He had little to go off regarding his age and lineage. In the excerpt of the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
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.
The American person has no true ideals, or beliefs that make him or her up. Americans are free to believe in what they want, think what they want, preach what they want, and most importantly say what they want . Authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman show in their texts such as “Self-Reliance” , The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , and “I Celebrate Myself” that there is no true definition of the American identity. The American identity can be seen in the many aspects of peoples lives, and a a quality that many Americans portray is the ability to have individual thoughts and emotions as well as the capability to not conform to society because they stand up for their own individual rights. A