Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass Reaction Paper

Improved Essays
Young Hall
Paper 4

In Frederick Douglass’ novel Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, he descriptively portrays the tyranny of slavery. He recounts different events that had a profound effect on his journey to freedom. However, the most disturbing of these memories is in the passage where Captain Anthony whips Douglass’ aunt. From this passage, the words “hardened” and “pleasure” are used to depict the horrid scene. Although Douglass describes the great pleasure slaveholders took in the inhumanity of slavery throughout his novel, he expresses that slavery is a cancerous disease that has the ability to corrupt the soul and harden the heart of any man.
In the excerpt from Douglass’ novel he conveys the wickedness
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He declares, “it was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery” (2174). His description of this horrifying enlightenment as the entrance to the gates of hell is not just a terrifying illustration, but also the wretched reality that he lived in. Douglass feels so strongly about these tragic events from his past that he struggles to write exactly how he feels. At the end of the passage he writes, “I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it” (2174). So after the witnessing his first “terrible spectacle,” Douglass comprehends the necessity of escaping this cruelty and becoming equal in the eyes of the law and man (2174).
In conclusion, the novel Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave portrays the wicked effects slavery had on Caucasian Southerners and the cruelty African Americans faced because of it. Captain Anthony is an exemplary example of a slaveholder who took great “pleasure” in the abuse of slaves, but Douglass only pities his lack of morality and humanity. Captain Anthony’s “hardened” heart and corrupted soul are key components in the cancerous disease known as slavery that started and continues racial strife even

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