Dehumanizing Effects Of Slaves Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

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Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery

To grow up merely dreaming of freedom is not the way a child should grow up, now days such a thing is almost unheard of because the freedom we have is taken for granted. Frederick Douglass was one of many who grew up dreaming of a free life. In Frederick Douglass’ “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” he explains how life as a slave really was. In his narrative he explains how he was taken from his family as a young child and shipped off like livestock. Throughout the “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” his experiences as a slave can be related to ideas from other authors such as Howard Gardner all the way to Cicero. The writing of Frederick Douglass clearly demonstrate the dehumanizing effects
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He explained how he was treated as well as other slaves that he knew and was around to witness their treatment. He explained how Mrs. Hamilton had two young women for slaves and how wretchedly she treated them. Mrs. Hamilton would strike the girls with cowhide (161). Douglass also mentions that the girls appear to be emaciated on top of beaten, he also mention that there sores appeared to infected which is a sign of inadequate personal hygiene. This example of cruelty can be directly related to Cicero. This is an example of Cicero’s statement regarding “one performs injustice and doesn’t suffer”. (151) Another example of the physical effects of slavery is demonstrated with Mr. Covey and Caroline. Caroline was the first slave Mr. Covey could buy and he bought her for the sole purpose of breeding (267), just as one would buy a cow and breed it to expand the herd. Mr. Covey degraded and dehumanized Caroline but treating her like one would treat a cow, he would lock her and Bill Smith a fellow slave in a room together every night until she fulfilled her duty and gave birth, expanding his number of slaves in a the same manner one would do so with livestock. In this particular situation Rousseau can be related. Rousseau talked about the “obligation to obey without question” (63). Mr. Covey gave the order to Bill Smith to have sex with Caroline until she became pregnant and successfully reproduced, in this instance Bill smith obeyed his master without question even though what he did was wrong it was what he was told to do. Obedience to authority can be clearly seen in the example given by Douglass regarding Bill Smith and Caroline. Obedience to authority could be described as the modern day translation for Rousseau’s “Obligation

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