The Slaveowner´s Point of View in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Good Essays
In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass depicts his life as a plantation slave, offering misinformed northern Christians and reformers in-depth accounts of the physical and emotional cruelties of slavery. As Douglass recounts his relationship and interactions with the harsh Mr. Covey, he disputes the basis on which southern slaveowners defended slavery. Douglass dispels their claims of encompassing a Christian duty to civilize blacks who they deemed naturally inferior by proving how they actively worked to keep slaves from assimilating and contributing to society. Southern slaveowners claimed that they were upholding their Christian duty by engaging in slavery, rescuing slaves from a life of struggle and…show more content…
Covey underscores how slaveowners’ defense of slavery with religion was something said and not done. In fact, Douglass even asserts that slaves have a solid faith and the “help” of their white masters is not needed and even detrimental. As opposed to Mr. Covey’s false Christianity, Douglass attributes slaves to having true Christianity, evidencing this by his own great ability to sing versus his master’s poor singing. Mr. Covey was “a very poor singer himself, the duty of raising the hymn generally came upon [Douglass]” (82). Douglass’ ability to sing the hymnals represent his strong grasp on Christianity, whereas Mr. Covey’s poor singing portrays his hypocrisy and distance from the faith. Contrary to the plantation myth, Mr. Covey, the slaveowner is dependent on Douglass, his slave. This role reversal emphasizes the how the South’s claim to be carrying out a Christian duty was flawed. Southern slaveowners argue that they are helping slaves conform to society, but Douglass dispels this paternalistic myth by emphasizing how he was sent to to Mr. Covey to be made into a brute. Due to the restrictions Mr. Covey puts on Douglass, “behold a man [is] transformed into a brute!” (83). Douglass moves through his transformation very quickly, as if writing a recipe; it is a very straightforward way of telling an emotional process. Douglass tells his readers to “behold” as if
Get Access