Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Slavery: A Lifelong Escape

To say that slavery only affects slaves is inaccurate; it dehumanizes the slaveholders too. Some of the slaveholders were sympathetic, innocent human beings. They were not automatically corrupt just because they owned a slave. Rather, slavery changed their actions and characters from merciful to vicious. In his autobiographical novel, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Douglass reveals how the act of owning slaves turns many dignified human beings into barbarians.
Slavery’s wicked nature turns slaveholders into monsters. Sophia Auld, one of Douglass’ masters, had been ignorant of slavery before she owned slaves, but it did not take long for slavery to degrade her character. When
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This further proves that owning slaves turns an innocent person into a preposterous slaveholder. Before, she treated Douglass like a human being, but now she treats him like an object. Due to slavery, Mrs. Auld’s kind personality has changed into a demonic one. Ultimately, Douglass is saying that when a person becomes a slaveholder, there is no turning back because slavery’s cruelness will always dominate their minds.
As slavery overpowers Mrs. Auld’s being, she treats Douglass barbarically. Mrs. Auld deprives Douglass of his right to read and explodes with rage whenever she sees him with a newspaper in his hands: “The tender heart became stone, and the lamblike disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness… I have had her rush at me with a face made all up of fury, and snatch from me a newspaper, in a manner that fully revealed her apprehension” (Douglass 82). Sophia Auld started out as a caring human being, but now she becomes almost like an animal; she becomes dehumanized by owning a slave. She wants to keep Douglass uneducated and worthless so that he will keep obeying her and will not try to escape. Douglass, in his speech What To the Slave Is the Fourth of July, describes the barbaric
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