Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, A Slave

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One of the largest influences on the Slavery Reform was Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, A Slave. This piece shared a part of Douglass’ life while revealing the harsh realities of slavery. Douglass’ slave narrative is bit different from the millions of others’ slave encounters. Others may have ended with a harsh death from punishment or a life full of slavery with a natural death. Douglass was fortunate enough to successfully escape slavery and into a life of freedom despite his lack of religion. I’ve chosen to focus on the religious aspect of this piece. Frederick Douglass, though not a religious man, includes many hidden relations to the bible. With some research, I would like to go into more detail about …show more content…
Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass starts off with Douglass explaining his younger years. He explains that he is unsure of his exact age but has a pretty good guess based on, “…hearing my master say, sometime during 1835, I was about seventeen years old.” (Douglass 12). Douglass then moves on to talk about his mother who he was separated from shortly after his birth. Him and his mother live 12 miles apart from one another on separate plantations. Every night his mother would walk to his plantation to put him to sleep. They would never talk. When his mother died, he wasn’t told immediately, but when he did find out, he expressed his emotions to be, “…much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger.” (13-14). Next, he discusses an event between a Mr. Plummer- a cruel overseer- and his Aunt Esther. This event will be particularly important in my discussion of religion in this piece. Mr. Plummer was a cruel overseer who often beat Aunt Esther. Douglass felt this to be one of the most horrific experiences of his life. “It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it.” …show more content…
The harsh conditions of which the slaves lived in were next in the Narrative. Slaves were given a monthly allowance in food and yearly clothing (Douglass 17-18). They were only given a “coarse blanket” to sleep on the floor with (18). Every morning they were awakened by a horn, and whoever did not hear the horn and woke up late, was greeted at the door with a whipping with a hickory switch by overseer Mr. Severe. Mr. Severe was extraordinarily cruel when it came to the slaves. He found any reason to punish them. “He seemed to take pleasure in manifesting his fiendish barbarity.” (18). Mr. Severe died soon after, and was replaced by Mr. Hopkins. This overseer was very highly thought of by the slaves because he was a more reasonable man. Douglass ends this chapter with discussing his feelings of sorrow about slavery. Particularly when the slaves would sing songs. “I have sometimes thought the mere songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of the philosophy on the subject could do.” (20). Douglass reveals that when he moved to the North, it was understood that the songs expressed the slaves’, “contentment and happiness” (21). He then expresses that, “It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are unhappy.”

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