Frederick Douglass Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl

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Throughout the beatings, hunger, separation, depression, and constant pain of slavery, hope and humanity are lost when slaves lack defiance. With humanity intact, slaves desire and fight for what they deserve: a necessity to life, a universal, God-given right, freedom. The fighters, the risk-takers, and the persisters, become the survivors. Resistance is the path slaves choose in the slave narratives, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs’ and, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass’. The rebellious spirit helps slaves survive by reminding them of their humanity and rightful desire to attain their freedom. This is illuminated through the way slaves fight back, the hate felt towards …show more content…
Douglass would rather die a free man, than be alive as a slave. He declares, “For my part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage” (969). Life is not worth living if he is just a servant to another. While yelling at the ships in Chesapeake Bay, he questions why he is a slave and resolves to run away. He would rather “be killed running as die standing” (959). Douglass prefers chasing after his dangerous dream of freedom than becoming a beast born out of slavery cruelty. Benjamin proves to hold that same belief when responding to Linda’s concerns of adversity, “He grew vexed, and asked if poverty and hardships with freedom, were not preferable to our treatment in slavery” (7). Whether or not the North holds more complications than he has now, he determines to get out of the chains of slavery. The lure of freedom causes slaves to push through the darkness of slavery in hope of a better life. Once he reaches free land, he is ecstatic to know that if he dies, it will be as a free man (10). Freedom is key to staying strong and immune to the dehumanizing effects of slavery. As long as slaves commit their lives to the thought of belonging to free land, they can hold on throughout the tough …show more content…
The Jacob’s family motto, “‘He that is ‘willing’ to be a slave, let him be a slave’” (10), proves that those who desire to be free, can be free. They can control if slavery turns them into animals or people. This statement helps her and other slaves know they have the potential to gain their liberty if they only stand up for themselves. Holding on to her vow to never be conquered (6), she does not give up on freedom and refuses defeat. Not only do mottos help slaves, but intelligence does too. Knowledge leads to freedom, so Douglass “set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read” (945). Although learning to read as a slave is punishable, he does it to bring him closer to freedom. Not only does he teach himself to read, but he keeps his promise to stand up for himself during the ship carpenter fight (973). As he holds his head up and faces the white workers, he stays true to his perseverance towards a better life, one with liberty. His goal continues to motivate him throughout the fights and

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