Frederick Douglass Memoir Analysis Essays

1680 Words 7 Pages
Although Fredrick Douglass’ account of his interment as a slave outlines in many ways the typical life of an American slave, his narrative utilizes a subjectivity and in-depth perception of his treatment which creates a looking glass of 19th century American slave experience. The narrative itself works in part to both display Douglass’ personal and unique experiences as a slave while at the same time acting as a “cookie-cutter” for the American slave experience itself, that meaning that so many slaves existed in similar conditions to that of Douglass’ that the work doubles as a synopsis for slave lifestyle as a whole. This paper will analyze and expand on the experiences had by Douglass and also attempt to better explain the incidents he …show more content…
Having been born into the slave institution by a white father and a slave mother interests this point further. Douglass further claims “...that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to their own lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable; for by this cunning arrangement, the slaveholder, in cases not a few, sustains to his slaves the double relation of master and father.”(Douglass, 3) This is not entirely correct though, perhaps in the state of Maryland it was indeed a customary law but as John Hope Franklin points out: “Masters, stricken by conscience, impelled by affection, or yielding to the temptation to evade responsibility, manumitted their slaves in large numbers until legislation either discouraged or prevented them altogether from doing so.” He continues to say that despite legislatures, masters frequently manumitted slaves through wills or even by allowing them to work off an imagined debt for their freedom as well. This shows that Douglass’ account reflects a bias from the slave’s perspective that all slave holders were too cold to care about the well being of their own bastard offspring especially coming from such heritage which indeed make

Related Documents