Frederick Douglass In Depth Analysis Of Slavery

1175 words - 5 pages

Slavery; an Atrocity In the 18th and 19th centuries, autobiographical accounts of ones life were very commonplace. However, nothing shocked and enthralled a much-divided America more than, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. From the first page, it engrosses the reader in a world of atrocities. The text, one could go as far as to say, defines slavery in America. The book provides insight into the minds and motives of Southern slave owners, the hardships of everyday slave life, and the attitude of Northerners at the time. "Slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs (47)." Frederick Douglass accounts in his thrilling and morbid ...view middle of the document...

From that point, he taught himself new words everyday through The Columbian Orator, a collection of speeches and essays dealing with liberty, democracy, and courage. Douglass saw this as his ticket to freedom. Douglass sheds some light on several areas such as the reason behind the slave songs and what it feels like to watch a family member be beaten and abused. His narrative does a very thorough job of conveying the slave experience to an audience that has no idea. The image conjured of slave owners and all of southern society in the 18th and 19th century is a negative one. This caricature holds shockingly true in Douglass' narrative. However, there is a lot more complexity to Southern society show in Douglass' well-crafted words. There are different kinds of slave owners in different parts of the south. People like Captain Anthony and Thomas Auld, who reside in the deep south, are cruel to the slaves they own, as they are property. Like the cotton gin, they are there to turn a profit. As long as they can work and do work, nothing else really matters. In Baltimore, a different type of slave owner is known. Sophia and Hugh Auld live next to neighbors that do not own slaves and are therefore, conscious of how they treat their slaves in public. Sophia had not even owned slaves before Douglass, so in the beginning, she was very kind and treated Douglass as you would treat any child. The abolitionist movement is a larger concern in Baltimore, because it is in the very streets. In the deeper south, though they are concerned about slaves escaping and abolitionists, the threat is not as axiomatic. Douglass also exposes the false piety of slave owners. Though many of them are bible thumping, none of them truly understands the lessons they are preached. Douglass analyzes the moral woes of slavery and the unnatural state that all involved are subjected to. Douglass' words give the reader a depiction of southern life and morality in an intricate and intriguing way, which is fair and abrasively honest. In modern times, people think of slavery and think that it was north against south. In reality, many Northerners were indifferent to the plight of slaves. When Fredrick Douglass first escapes to the north, he finds that there is...

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