ENG2003 World Literature ll SU01
Week 1 Literary Analysis Essay
March 28, 2018
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Fredrick Douglass is the author book called the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave. Although he was born in slavery, he helps to end slavery. By sharing his own experiences dealing with slavery, he hoped to convince his audience that slavery was inhumane and evil. Douglass wanted people to know happiness exists in any situation. He got his happiness through his education taught by one of his owners. He finally gains his freedom after getting his education. He also wanted to show that religion (Christianity) was used to hurt slaves.
Fredrick Douglass discussed several arguments against slavery. One of those arguments was that slavery was cruel and brutal. Douglass was forced to witness his Aunt Hester get beat unbelievable. Slavery corrupt good people like Ms. Auld who was very kind before she became a slave owner. Slaves owners did not consider them as humans nor the slaves felt human. The slave owners consider them as their property. Douglass stated, “We were all ranked together at valuation. Men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep and swine. There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holding the same rank in the scale of being and were all subjected to the same narrow examination.” Douglass meaning of this statement is that all slaves were transformed into a monster and sold. The slave owners took their humanity away. They had to live in very bad conditions. They had to sleep in the cold with no heat and barely enough food to eat. Slaves were treated very inhumanely. They did nothing wrong for the treatment they received. More than seventy-two crimes that can be committed black people was punishable by death and only two crimes would have the same results for white people. This argument is the Douglass reasoning for believing that he was different from the people who did not support is standardized.
Another argument was Christianity. Slaves owners use Christianity as an excuse to abuse their slaves. You would think that A Christian could have some sympathy for its fellow man but not these slave’s owners. The more they got into their Christianity, the more they were brutal to their slaves. Slavery caused people to be separated from their families, causing them to feel alone abandon. Douglass barely spent time with his mother. She was a stranger to him. Douglass saw his own mother a couple of times at night before her death. He didn’t feel any emotions for his mother. Christianity is the only thing slaves had to fall back on in those ruff times. Christianity did not give slaves hope for a better life back then. Douglass describes Christianity as loving “the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” With that statement, Douglass meant that the slave master had no kind of goodness in them. It was wrong for the slave masters to work their slaves without having enough of rest food, and water. Making them fight each other and kill each other was not Christian like either.
Douglass last argument against slavery is that slavery was inconsistent. Especially with moral, political, encomia, social, and historical. He thought America was on the wrong side when it came to slavery. Douglass argued that slaves were entitled to the natural rights that natural law mandated and that the United States recognized in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Slavery threatens the natural rights of slaves by controlling their mind. Slavery went against God’s will and nature. Douglas stated, “It is however a notable fact that while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon those engaged in the foreign slave trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass without condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.” (12) He argues that it is a form of dishonesty in the world’s policy and why it should be sufficient to show people why slavery is wrong.
In conclusion, Douglass never gave of his goal to become free. He was relentless in get an education, to get his freedom and end slavery. He stated, “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Anything, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me.” (7.6) Douglass education came at a cost. While getting his education to gain his freedom, he still had to endure hard times because he still was a slave. Douglass was still envies of slaves who were uneducated and who was happy with what they had which was not much. Even though Douglass wants to improve his situation makes it more painful if he did not improve himself.