Frederick Douglass: Living in Slavery

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Slavery: Living in Terror The most compelling and vivid component that is constantly portrayed throughout The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is the dehumanizing and constant violence that slaves were made to endure. They were brutally beaten and abused for no justifiable reason whatsoever and mentally tormented. In addition, slaveholders presented no emotion or sympathy while they massacred these innocent people. They did this in order to obtain absolute control and order. They felt as though the more abuse they gave, the more power they gained. However, some slaveholders become so obsessed with the thirst for power that their actions lead to the deaths of innocent people. The violent scenes that Douglass presents are nothing short of horrifying. He reveals that slaveholders often got away with murder with out any type of punishment or jurisdiction. An account of this is when a slaveholder by the name of Mr. Gore whipped his slave, Demby, to the point where he could not bear it. Demby then stood in a creek to escape the scourging and refused to get out. In return, Mr.Gore shot him in the face with his musket (Douglass 39). Mr. Gore’s defense to his unspeakable act was that “Demby became unmanageable and that if one slave could escape with his life, then other slaves would try to do it as well” (Douglass 39). This is a perfect example of the mindset these cruel slaveholders embodied. If a slaveholder felt as though he was not in control for but a minute’s time, he was willing to do anything in order to re gain his supreme power. I believe this is why so many slaves were murdered at times. In response to this event, Douglass states, “One of the bloodiest and most foul murders goes un-whipped of justice and uncensored by the community in which he lived” (Douglass 39). Not only were the murdered unpunished, but also the communities were “uncensored”.
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