Ethicality Of Slavery In Narrative Of The Life Of Mr. Covey

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An emancipated slave, Frederick Douglass, in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, relayed his life as a former slave and the events that led to his liberation in order to reveal the inherent unethicality of slavery. Douglass, in an attempt to further support his claim about the rarely discussed oppressiveness of slavery, reveals, in chapter 10, on pages 37 and 38, the tyrannical cruelty he had to endure under one of his owners, Mr. Covey. Transitioning from a brief description of Mr. Covey’s behavior and methods of punishment to a more emotional admittance of the effects Mr. Covey’s ruthless rule over him had had on his will to live, Douglass recounted how laborious and arduous each day as a slave under Mr. Covey seemed and how little …show more content…
Douglass, for instance, indirectly compared slavery to a drink as he expressed that he experienced the “bitterest dregs,” also known as the undesirable and worst remnants of a liquid, of slavery under Mr. Covey, which insinuates how malevolent and unrelenting Mr. Covey must have been for Douglass to consider his time as a slave under him as the most oppressive part of his life as a slave. Throughout his narrative, Douglass also frequently, to convey how slave owners viewed and treated their slaves, compared slaves to animals through nuanced language. Douglass, for example, subtly likens slaves to animals in these statements, “a few months of this discipline tamed me” (37), “Mr. Covey succeeded in breaking me” (37), “behold a man transformed into a brute!” (38), and “I spent this in a sort of beast-like stupor” (38) as the words, “tamed”, “breaking”, “brute”, and “beast-like”, are generally used to describe animals. Through these comparisons, Douglass most likely intended to convey how slaves were seen as less than humans rather than indirectly likening them to cattle himself. Douglass then continues his consistent usage of comparisons by using an indirect metaphor to compare hope to a flame in this excerpt, “a flash of energetic freedom would dart through my soul, …show more content…
His heartrending account of how Mr. Covey tamed and “succeeded in breaking” (37) him conveyed how forlorn Douglass felt and how Mr. Covey took away Douglass’ inspiration to endure the hardships of slavery: hope. Simply the denotation of the word, break, powerfully depicts Douglass’ dejected spirit. Douglass even mentioned that he often considered suicide and whether it was a better alternative to enduring another day as a slave, illustrating the oppressive and discouraging nature of

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