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Frederick Douglass Essay

1619 words - 6 pages

Upon finishing my copy of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, I have come to realize many new ideas and topics. I have discovered details about the evils of slavery that I never knew existed. There are things that I should have realized many years ago, but never did due to ignorance. Now I understand and feel consumed by the undying question of whether or not if it is moral to own a human being. My opinion after reading this is it is absolutely wrong to own a man and take his freedom.

I have discovered many things from this narrative. I now know what it is like to be in the shoes of a slave. To hear of the horrible ties that comes with slavery. The most important issue, I feel, is not knowing details about ones own life. Douglass explained in his narrative that he was withheld many details of his life. Throughout his entire write up, he could never tell exactly how old he was, due to the fact of never knowing the date of his birthday. He also barely knew his own family. He had only seen his mother maybe four or five times in his life, and every time that he had was only for a short period of time. He didn’t even know who his father was. The most he ever knew about his dad was that he was a white man. Who was this man? He had no idea, though he heard many rumors that it was his mother’s master. He had other family, who he hardly ever got to see. His knowledge was always trying to be limited, whether it was about family, or about grammar. Because he was a slave, he was never allowed to read. This was because owners feared that if slaves learned to read and write, they would develop a unique sense of self and start to revolt. Slave holders felt that the less their property knew, the less trouble.

It’s bad enough to have certain personal privelages taken away, but to also treat a human being like an animal is barbaric. Douglass wrote of certain details about this. First of all, most of the time he was hungry. The slaves barely had anything to eat. Starvation started to set in. But what hurt him most when he was a child was the cols. The only clothing he had was a white shirt that came down to his knees. That was all. Most of the time he suffered from cold, having to sleep with no blankets, or a bed for that matter. He sometimes took a field sack to sleep in at night, but he was still cold. When he moved to Baltimore, it was the first time he owned a pair of trousers. Often times he had to eat mush with the other children. A trough would be placed on the ground when it was time to eat, and the children would have to eat with either their broken oyster shells, or their hands. The biggest kid got to eat the most. It was a fight to survive. Douglass also spoke of beatings, whether it was first hand, or whether he witnessed them. Sometimes he saw his masters taking great pleasure in whipping a slave, or beating a slave with a hickory stick. He saw people beat so bad, the blood ran for a half hour at a time, leaving large welts and scars....

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