Frederick Douglass Writing Assignment

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In Narrative Of he Life of Frederick Douglass, the author- Frederick Douglass himself- mentions that he got separated with her mother right after he was born, her mother got sent to work in another farm which is pretty far from where he lives. He states that “[My mother] made her journeys to see me in the night, traveling the whole distance on foot, after the performance of her day’s work. She was a field hand, and a whipping is the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise” (2). The economy of the South was dependent upon slave, most of them work all day for almost no money.

The agrarian culture of the south made it necessity to have man power to work and harvest the crops of the fields, as more crops were produced, more slaves were needed, leading to more money being generated, increasing white’s ability to purchase more slaves. Frederick Douglass also describes the daily life of a slave in the book, he states that “for when their days work in the field is done, the most of them having their washing, mending and cooking to do… Old and young male and female, married and single, drop down side by side, on one common bed, the cold, damp floor. ACH covering himself or herself with their miserTABLE blankets; and here they sleep till they are summoned to the field by the driver’s horn. At the sound of this, all must rise, and be off to the field” (6). The majority of slaves worked in plantation agriculture, some had other occupations such as maids and cooks. The treatment of slaves was generally awful, with only a small amount of money required to actually purchase and maintain slaves, this allowed many owners of plantations to become very wealthy. Southern views and attitudes towards black people were very arrogant, ignorant and brutal.

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According to Frederick Douglass, the experience of slavery for men, women and children was equally horrible. He describes the terrible experience watching Aunt Hester being whipped by her master in chapter one, “he took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist, leaving her neck, shoulders and back, entirely naked. He then told her o cross her hands, calling her at the same time a d-ћ-d b—h… He commenced to lay on the heavy coonskin, and soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor” (4-5). The act of raping a slave was a normal occurrence during slavery.

Due to the fact that Africans were not thought as humans, but as property, they did not have rights which whites enjoyed. Rape is a violent act, whether the victim puts up a struggle or not. The fact that it was legal to rape a woman because she was a slave, shows the inhumane and tyrannical side of the landowners. Frederick Douglass also demonstrates how cruel the whites were by showing another example in the book. In chapter three, he talks about how a colored boy accidentally told his master that the slaves are to treated well.

And his penalty of telling the truth is that “he was snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death”.

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