Narrativa of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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US History II “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” is an in depth description of the life of a slave, written by Frederick Douglass himself. Douglass uses his experience as a slave to explain how unnatural it is. He establishes that slavery degrades human beings to the level of livestock, and changes people’s attitudes and sense of morality. People were traded or sold when no longer of use, and beaten or whipped as punishment. In addition, punishment for killing a slave was often times not enforced, due to the supposed lack of severity of the act. As for people’s sense of morality, he recounts how he has watched good people be turned into demons by the effects of slave ownership. An example of this is Sophia Auld, his owner’s wife, who transformed from a kind woman who was teaching him how to read to a cruel and cold monster. A similar case is the one of Thomas Auld, who once he becomes more religious feels justified in his cruelty towards his slaves, interpreting the teachings of Christianity to put his mind at ease. While telling his story, he concludes that ignorance is slaveholders’ means of making slaves remain slaves. He tells how slave owners would deprive slaves of basic knowledge about themselves. The purpose of this was to rob slaves of their sense of individuality and self-determination. They separated them from their families at a young age to keep them from developing attachments. This would keep slaves from protesting when others were being whipped in order to protect their family members. Douglass explains, however, that slave holders’ greatest weapon against slaves is the latter one’s lack of education. He comes to this conclusion when he hears Hugh Auld scold his wife Sophia by saying that “education ruins slaves”. He states that it makes them unhappy with their masters and with their
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