Analysis of Frederick Douglas' "Narrative of a Slave" Essay

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In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, Frederick Douglass establishes for us the many factors that lead to the continual enslavement of the black race by connecting his own plight to that of other slaves as a plea for the abolition of slavery. The evil of slavery infected every master to pervert the truth to his own satisfaction and Douglass explains how slavery corrupts the humanity of both slave and master. The legal system was also not an option for slaves to turn to for help because they had no legal rights. The fear of losing friends and never being able to trust anyone again was enough to keep many back in bondage. And the lack of education left their minds dulled to any …show more content…
Douglass assures us that just the opposite is the truth. From the great big house of the plantation owner all the way down to the fields where the slaves toiled, all was in harmony according to the master`s ideal. Any show of discontent was sure to lead to a brutal whipping or other punishment because nothing was to deter from the portrait of a "picture perfect institution."

Douglass also emphasizes that the evil power of slavery will turn a good, kind heart, stone cold as it did with his master's wife, Mrs. Auld. She was once loving to him and wanted to educate him, and felt uncomfortable around his servility. But as time went on and she listened to her husband's demands to keep Frederick uneducated, the power she had over him turned her into a cruel master as well. Douglass believes that if a master isn't at the start cruel and mean, the power he or she has over another person will corrupt them and turn them so. The evil of slavery affects not just the slaves who suffer under it's weight but it makes the slave owner cold and cruel. So slavery could not be quelled with kinder masters because in time they would become just as harsh as any other.

Because slaves were classified as inferior and not quite human, the legal system judged them as less credible than their masters. In the courts, the testimony of a black witness was never equal to that of a white witness.