Fredrick Douglass Essay

1355 Words 6 Pages
Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist who altered America's views of slavery through his writings and actions. Frederick's life as a slave had the greatest impact on his writings. Through his experience as a slave, he developed emotion and experience for him to become a successful abolitionist writer. He experienced harsh treatment and his hate for slavery and desire to be free caused him to write Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In his Narrative, he wrote the story of his miserable life as a slave and his fight to be free. His motivation behind the character (himself) was to make it through another day so that maybe one day he might be free. By speaking out, fighting as an abolitionist and finally becoming an author, …show more content…
The power that they have over their slaves has a damaging effect on their moral health because they are careless. Douglass describes adultery and rape as typical behavior patterns of slaveholders which damage their families. Sophia Auld is Douglass's main illustration of the corruption of slave owners. The power of slaveholding changes Sophia from a nice woman to a demon. She went from a kind, caring and loving person into a typical mean slave master. She was no longer able to teach Douglass how to read because her husband disapproved it. Slaveholders gain and keep power over blacks from their birth onward by keeping them ignorant of basic facts about themselves. For example slaves didn't know their birth date or who their parents were. They didn't want slaves to have a natural sense of identity. Slave children were not allowed to learn to read or write because this would lead slaves to question their rights.

Douglass uses family relationships, starting with his own birth, to gain the compassion of his target audience. He never knew the identity of his father, but it was "whispered" (Douglass, Narrative, 43) that it was his master. Douglass shocked his Northern white readers when he informed them that slaveholders regularly split slave families for no reason. This upset Northerners because their family units were the foundation of their communities. People couldn't believe that slave children were taken
Open Document