Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the year 1818. One day when he was still very young, his owner’s wife saw that there were few slaves left on her plantation and she told Frederick that he would soon be free. When Frederick heard these words, he felt a rush of hope for the first time in his life. But one morning before sunrise, when all the other slaves were asleep in their quarters, he found himself surrounded by men with whips who took him away to Maryland where slave-holding was legal. For two years, Frederick lived as an indentured servant until at last his papers arrived from his original home state of New York which granted him freedom once again.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a narrative about slavery and oppression that Frederick Douglass experienced before his escape to freedom. In his writing, Douglass gives readers with fast hand information on the agony, brutality, and humiliation of slaves. He criticizes not just the perpetrator but also those who were victimized by this system. As a slave, Frederick Douglass witnessed black people being tortured for the crime of being born of the wrong race. He describes how he struggled to attain education in order to gain his liberty.
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Douglas’ escape from slavery and eventual freedom are linked to his movingly recounted achievement of literacy. Literacy was Douglas’ initial step on the road to liberty, as well as that of his fellow African slaves. He became enraged by what he learnt about this book and about the masters’ treatment of the slaves. The book convinced him that he would be a slave for the rest of his life, with no chance of escaping.
He believes that, as a result of the institution, they had forgotten about their origin and anything else having to do with their history, and even while they were still in the womb. The slaves lost touch with all aspects of their family; none knew about theirs because they were taken from them without notice. He explains how they went hungry, naked, and sleepless as a result of being maltreated by their masters.
Slavery was a system in which black people were subjected to torture without cause. They were not regarded as human beings, but rather as commodities that might be used however the owners wished. Slavery was harsh for Africans, especially women, who were often raped and forced to bear their masters’ children if they refused. When confronted with the slavery institution, Douglas’s work is courageous; it challenges Christians’ misuse of religion in the slaveowners’ hands.
Slavery, in its many forms, has had a large influence on the history of the United States as a nation. To those who practiced slavery then, whites, it has left an indelible stain on America that will always be remembered. This essay focuses on Frederick Douglass’s narrative, which recounts his experience as a slave. The story illuminates the darkness and harmful effects of slavery while also calling for its abolition. Slavery is condemned throughout ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,’ both as an indictment and a call to action for its elimination (Lecture Notes 1).
Frederick Douglass’ main arguments against slavery
John Brown, in his book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, tells a tale based on personal experience as a slave. He considers slavery to be the worst disaster to ever visit America, with consequences still felt today. His story is told with a deep sigh of sorrow for having to go through it when he was so young.
The death and separation from his mother at a young age pains him considerably. Because he is said to have had a white father, this fact serves as evidence for the slaves’ harsh treatment. This explains that the slaves, especially the women, were victims of rape by their slave owners who kidnapped them against their will (Douglass, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”). He had to watch his aunt get whipped; this moment has haunted him ever since.
The slaves were severely persecuted, being beaten on a daily basis with no cause. They had to work donkeys in addition to their own physical labor. Douglass’ hatred and condemnation of slavery are clearly evident in his account of the slaves’ tormenting treatment. In addition, he explains how the slaves behaved when interacting with their masters, as well as their feeling of inferiority. Because of the mistreatment they received from whites, they had a lot of inferiority complex.
They thus went to the harsh masters in great trepidation. They were so afraid of the whites since they had no say before them (Murrin 98). Even if a slave told the truth, he or she was seen as a liar. The slaves’ situation got worse as a result of this, since they felt separated. As a result, fear served as a protective tool for the slaves, who were often beaten and even slain (Douglass “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” 1).
The various episodes of unbridled savagery against the slaves are addressed by Douglass. They were regarded as animals, yet they were humans like the whites. Because every human being has a fundamental right to freedom that they should be free to exercise, this is abhorrent. The slave owners argued that slaves should not be educated since they might learn how to read or write and use these skills in order to rebel against their masters.
The slaves should not know how to read God’s Word, which is the Bible. It’s quite amusing because God wants everyone to be able to read and understand his Word, yet the slaves are denied this opportunity. They say that their understanding of a book or a letter may prevent them from being enslaved. Slavery is seen by Douglass as a crime, and those who commit it must face justice. For example, when Douglass moved to Baltimore, he recounted his story.
He was delighted by this news because he saw it as the end of slavery. It was a new beginning in his life, but his efforts to learn even the most basic alphabets were hampered by a White man who thought that slaves would lose their jobs if they learnt to read and especially the Bible.
Slaves were considered to be assets of a slave owner, along with livestock. This is why Douglass’s hatred for slavery resurfaces once more in this passage. This happens because when the master died, Douglass and the other slaves were left alone, and they would all be split between the late master’s son and daughter as inheritance Bequests left for inheritance. Douglass’ loathing for this sort of treatment reflects how terrible and unsuitable it is for people.
On rare occasions, the slaves were also denied food by their masters. When Douglass recounts his delight at being borrowed to another white man because he was sure of being fed, he implies that he received no nourishment from his initial master despite the fact that he worked diligently (Douglass, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” 1).
His goals are thwarted at the new master’s home. He works under severe conditions and is required to perform heavy chores with minimal appreciation. Furthermore, he is whipped almost every day simply because he is a slave. Day after day, his torment drives him to the verge of collapse while working in the fields. This leads him to a breaking point.
Because he has been denied his freedom, the slave chooses to heat back by having a fight with his master. All of this serves as proof that Douglass hated slavery and was an advocate for its abolition from beginning to end. He is heating back at his master as a result of his tenacity, which indicates that he wants revenge against those who enslaved him. It demonstrates that he is prepared to go to any length to eliminate and totally abolish this vile practice.
This is further emphasized by Douglass and his friends’ efforts to flee from the plantation, where they were all slaves. They are arrested, however, and Douglass is imprisoned as a result. This is an example of self-sacrifice on behalf of the goal of complete abolition of slavery. He is willing to go to prison (Douglass, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” 1) in order to achieve this.
Douglass’ efforts to rebel against slavery proved that it may be overcome. This is proven by the slave master’s reaction after Douglass was beaten until he fought back. After the scuffle, the slave owner stopped whipping Douglass. The fact that there are individuals who are brave enough to resist slavery is the message that seems to be being sent across.
Douglass was proving that if the abolitionists do not give up in their fight for freedom, the slave owners would capitulate to pressure against slavery. This is further evidenced by Douglass’ ultimate success in liberating himself from bondage. He was able to flee from slavery with the aid of some of his pals. It’s quite feasible to put an end to slave rule or similar types of torture in any given society with a concerted effort (Murrin 103)..
Conclusion: The basis of the argument
Douglas makes his points in the narrative clearly, demonstrating that slavery is a crime that requires to be abolished. He builds his case on the foundations of religion and morality. In his ‘The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,’ Douglass affirms that while it is acknowledged that the slave is trustworthy, he is moral and intellectual.
This statement demonstrates Douglass’s moral convictions, which he uses to back up his claims. He claims that the manhood of a slave is acknowledged throughout the world, implying that slaves are human beings like any other despite their race (Douglass, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” 1).
On religious grounds, Douglas employs the biblical tale of the Israelites’ being carried into exile by the Babylonians as a framework for his viewpoints. When they recall their home city Zion and refuse to sing a song in this strange country, contrary to what those who had captured them expected, the Israelites weep.
This implies that the men were tortured as a result of their capture. Douglas compares this to the situation in which they found themselves as slaves on a foreign land where they were not from, as he tries to explain it to his audience. He sides with God and others are wounded in order to condemn those who perpetuate slavery, something both wrong and indecent. This makes clear the religious foundation for some of Douglass’s argument (“The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” 1).
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave is a compelling narrative that details the development of a slave into an individual. The narrative serves as a persuasive essay in which he hopes to achieve “the speedy coming of daybreak to millions of [his] brethren in bondage” (Douglass 331). Slavery sought to dehumanize men, women, and children “in bonds.”
Douglass states that the slave identity was not to be a rational, self-forming, and equal human being, but rather a human animal whose goal is to work and obey their “master’s” commands. For these reasons, Douglass distinguishes between the terms “man” and “slaves” under the system of slavery.
In his story, Douglass describes the circumstances and circumstances that distinguish between these two words. Douglass also shows how he went from accepting the slaveholder’s ideas about what his identity should be to establishing a personal identity of his own making. As a result, Douglass’ account depicts not only a quest for freedom, but also a journey to discover who he truly is as an enslaved person/animal being subjected to slavery.
The reader is first introduced to Douglas’ construction of selfhood outside the constraints of slavery before even diving into the story. The title page and the phrase “written by himself” reveal Douglass’s advancement from a dependent slave to an independent author (Stone 134). He was unable to voice his views against slavery as a slave.
Furthermore, he would have been illiterate—unable to read and unable to write—in the traditional roles of slavery. However, by looking at the whole meaning of the title page, the reader is introduced to Douglass’s refusal to follow in other slaves’ footsteps by conforming to being uneducated and voiceless. As a result, even before reading his work, the reader knows that Douglass will demonstrate how a slave was transformed into a man through “speaking out—the symbolic act of self-definition” (Stone 135).
Slavery defined a slave as less than human, and in order to maintain that perception, slaveholders prohibited slaves from developing their own identities. As a result, when Douglass reclaims the ideas about his identity foisted on him by slavery and embraces an identity of his own creation, he has completed his trip from slave to man.
Frederick Douglass no longer identifies himself in terms of the institution of slavery, but rather in terms of his own ideas regarding who he is. Through the metamorphosis of his identity as “an animal” into an abolitionist author, Douglass offers not just a struggle for freedom, but also a quest for self-discovery.
“You have seen how a man may become a slave; you shall see how a slave can become a man” (Pg. 64) This is the personal narrative written by Frederick Douglass himself. Doustone describes his experience as a freeman looking back on his life as a slave.
The various occurrences in his life, such as leaving the plantation, learning the truth about literacy, crimes he had witnessed, a legal system that turned a blind eye to his suffering and his duty as a former slave to teach those who were ignorant of the existence of slavery’s misery are all examples. The events that motivated Douglass to write the text included those where he acquired knowledge that aided him in both figurative and literal escapes from slavery. Also present are situations when he was witness to and was subjected to slavery’s cruelty.
Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist leader, journalist, and author who was born in 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. He spent his life as a slave until he escaped at the age of 20. Many circumstances prompted Douglass to recognize his position as a slave.
Alexander Pushkin wrote his life story in order to educate people about the fundamental civil rights he lacked as a black slave in the South. During his lifetime, Douglass had many highs and lows. All of the experiences that he witnessed or participated in led him to write his autobiography while enslaved.
In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederic Douglass recounts his experience as a slave. slavery was the world in which Douglas was born and grew up. He spent his childhood and some of his adulthood as a slave before becoming ready to be free after many years. He explains how slavery is horrid for slaves and how it destroys their owners. After all this time, Dougy decides that he’s had enough of wondering what slavery is and having to hide in the dark, so he’s going to shine light on the American Slave System.
Slavery is bad for slaves, according to Frederick Douglass. In the narrative, Douglass recounts his enslavement as a youngster. Douglass had little knowledge about himself. He didn’t know his own age or who his dad was. He was shut off from learning more about the outside world or himself. We see an example of how little Douglass knew about himself in Excerpt 1, Paragraph 1.
According to Frederick, when he tried to flee for freedom, everything was done. From the moment they planned on escaping until the time a white man saw them, everything was laid out. But someone betrayed them, and things changed dramatically. In Excerpt 5, Paragraph 6, Frederick describes what occurred. “I got to Mr. Freeland’s house just as four white men were walking down the road; two black men followed behind them. When I looked out of his window and towards the lane gate, I saw four more white people; two more colored men were following behind them.”
Most people who defend slavery have never experienced it first hand. This quote demonstrates that no matter how hard you try, you will always be caught. Douglas had devised a strategy that might or may not have been effective. But he would never consider that some of his fellow slaves would turn him in. As you can see, slavery is bad for slaves, who are forced to make huge concessions merely to attempt it.