Frederick Douglass Literary Analysis

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Frederick Douglass was a slave in Baltimore in the 1820s and 30s. He had numerous experiences living as a slave. Like most slaves, though, he was completely against slavery. Douglass writes a narrative of his experiences as a child till his current age. Frederick Douglass uses his narrative as a device against slavery by depicting the way slave children are treated, depicting the allowable amount of intellect the slaves can possess, and depicting the violence the slaves are treated with. Firstly, Douglass starts his narrative by depicting the way slave children are treated. He expresses the time when slaves are born, “they are separated from their mothers within the first year of their lives.” According to Douglass, the purpose of this is …show more content…
Douglass gives many graphic accounts of the gruesome whippings done to the slaves by their masters. The one he writes about is the violence his first master exhibited towards his aunt. He says his “master would tie her to a joist and whip her naked back covering her with blood.” He writes, "The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest." He would whip her until he got tired and only then would he stop. In chapter four, he shares the story of a violent murder of a slave. It was his wife 's cousin who was murdered. She was supposed to be taking care of her master 's baby one night, but “she had not slept for days and fell asleep.” The baby had started crying in the night but the teenage girl slept through it. Her master 's wife however did not sleep through it and went to go check and saw that the girl was not making an effort to take care of the baby, “she grabbed an oak stick of wood from the fireplace and beat the girl with it,” she broke her nose and breastbone and ultimately ending her life. There are multiple accounts of whippings and murder, but these two are the worst and definitely show the severity of violence that slaves are treated with and Douglass uses theses as his greatest arguments against slavery.

Thus, over the years slaves lived underprivileged lives. Frederick Douglass did an excellent

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