Narrative Of An American Slave

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Narrative of an American Slave Douglass' Narrative begins with the few facts he knows about his birth and parentage. He knows that his father is a slave owner and his mother is a slave named Harriet Bailey. Here and throughout the autobiography, Douglass highlights the common practice of white slave owners raping slave women, both to satisfy their sexual hungers and to expand their slave populations. In the first chapter, Douglass also makes mention of the hypocrisy of Christian slave owners who used religious teachings to justify their abhorrent treatment of slaves; the religious practice of slave owners is a recurrent theme in the text. Throughout the next several chapters, Douglass describes the conditions in which he and other slaves live. As a slave of Captain Anthony and Colonel Lloyd, Douglass survives on meager rations and is often cold. He witnesses brutal beatings and the murder of a slave, which goes unnoticed by the law or the community at large. Douglass argues against the notion that slaves who sing are content; instead, he likens singing to crying — a way to relieve sorrow. Douglass also draws attention to the false system of values created by slavery, in which allegiance to the slave master is far stronger than an allegiance to other slaves. When he is seven or eight years old, Douglass is sent to Baltimore to live with the Auld family and care for their son, Thomas. Mrs. Auld gives Douglass reading lessons until her husband intervene; Douglass continues his lessons by trading bread for lessons with poor neighborhood white boys and by using Thomas' books. Soon, Douglass discovers abolitionist movements in the North, including those by Irish Catholics. Several years later, as a result of his original owner's death, Douglass finds himself being lent to a poor farmer with a reputation for "breaking" slaves. Douglass spends a year with Covey, who
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