Fredrick Douglass Essay

852 Words 4 Pages
The purpose behind Fredrick Douglass’s Narrative was to appeal to the other abolitionists who he wanted to convince that slave owners were wrong for their treatment of other human beings. His goal was to appeal to the middle-class people of that time and persuade them to get on board with the abolitionist movement. Douglass had a great writing style that was descriptive as well as convincing. He stayed away from the horrific details of the time, which helped him grasp the attention of the women who in turn would convince their husbands to help by donating money and eventually ending slavery. He used his words effectively in convincing the readers that the slave owners were inhuman and showed how they had no feelings for other human …show more content…
This meant that these bastard children were slaves despite their paternal heritage because their mother was a slave. The effect of this revelation was to shock and offend the morals of the conservative Northern whites. Northern society scorned people in adulterous and interracial relationships. By portraying these Southerners as immoral and adulterous, Douglass wanted to cultivate in his audience a damaging opinion of southern slaveholders (Quarles ix).
Continuing with the theme of family values, Douglass shifts to the basic family unit. Their master separated Douglass and his mother when he was an infant, for what reason he “does not know” (Douglass 2). No one gave Douglass an explanation because this situation was customary on plantations. Douglass wanted to horrify his Northern white readers by informing them that slaveholders regularly split slave families for no apparent reason. This obviously would upset Northerners because the family unit was the foundation for their close-knit communities. Multiple generations and extended families lived together or near each other. It was unimaginable to the readers that a society existed that took children away from their mothers without reason. Northerners would think of anyone who was part of such a society as a heartless monster (Quarles ix).
Another example of how Douglass used family values against southern slaveholders was in the treatment of his grandmother. When Douglass’s master decided