The Dehumanization Of Slaves's Narrative Of Frederick Douglass

Decent Essays
Frederick Douglass argues in his narrative that slavery dehumanizes both the slave and the slave master generating a dependency for each other. For slave’s, this dehumanization came in the form of having their name, culture and personal identity stripped away from them and for the slave master, the inability to function when deprived of slave assistance. In this essay, I will use Frederick Douglass’s narrative; along with, first-hand accounts to demonstrate how both the slave and the slave master became dehumanized through the institution of slavery. Using Frederick Douglass’s narrative, I will explain how slaves became exploited for cheap labor by the slave master creating a society depended on slaves.
In the first chapter of Douglass’s
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Douglass. Fredrick. Narrative of Frederick Douglas. FPP Classic. 2009. For many slaves like Douglass, they never had the opportunity to know who their parents were because most were split up during the auction with many families going to different plantations. This institute of slavery tore families apart and destroyed the African tradition of family bonds. For most slaves, they came from a culture that was deeply rooted in family history and supported the bonds of family. This African naming ceremony connects slaves to their director family, extended family, land, and religion which was stolen from them when they reached America. The slave master denied slaves the right to uphold any cultural heritage to created control over their slaves. The entire slave instruction is dehumanizing to slaves as it rips individuals from their home countries, forces them onto a boat and then forced to slave labor where they have no forms of civil liberty. Once a slave stepped foot on a slave plantation they lost any notion of it means to be a human as they are nothing more than a tool for cheap labor. The slaves became bounded under the chains of slave labor force to work long hours under ghastly conditions all under the threat of the whip. Slave chains, that for millions of slaves become their ultimate death …show more content…
When Frederick Douglass described this bloody transaction, it involved slaves being whipped to the point of death if convicted of a crime. These crimes could be as simple as a misdemeanor up to a high crime such as running away or rebelling against the slave master all of which meet the slave punishment which was the whip. For slaves on these plantations, they were only allowed a monthly allowance of food and clothing which further dehumanizes them and treated them as just cheap labor. Slaves living on these planation’s were given the bare minimum when it comes to food and clothing to wear with most shirts made from a rough material that burned their skin. Douglas talks about how slaves received their monthly allowance of food of “eight pounds of pork or its equivalent in fish, and one bushel of corn meal.” Douglass. Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass. FPP. 2009. For clothing, these slaves received two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers and a single pair of shoes for the entire year. Douglass talks about in chapter two of his narrative how his “yearly clothing consisted of two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like the shirt, one jacket, one pair of stockings, and one pair of shoes.” Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. FPP, 2009. This shows the

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