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Frederick Douglass' Fight From The Cultural Norm

1967 words - 8 pages

American RomanticismNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave written by Frederick Douglass is perhaps the most informative text written on slavery. This text will be a stone in the groundwork of the movement for freedom. Slavery is looked at so generally by people of this time, while they have very little knowledge of the truths behind slavery. Many think of slavery as white people owning black people and forcing them to work using physical punishment to enforce their authority. Although this did occur, slavery was much more complicated. There were a lot more complications and issues involved during the time of slavery. Frederick Douglass' autobiography shined a new view of what slavery was about as well as all that took place, documenting adultery committed by male slave owners with female slaves and the consequences of that, the education of slaves and the relationships between slaves and slave owners. Douglass uses his narrative in order to argue the cultural norm of the thoughts of white people, who think of slaves as merely working dogs. They are not considered as humans who have spiritual, mental and intellectual feelings, as they have every human rights taken away and thought of as property to serve the white men. Douglass debits such views of the harsh cultural and societal views on slavery.The issue of slavery has been touched upon often in the course of history. Not often do we get to learn about the inner struggles of a slave spiritually and intellectually. Through Frederick Douglass and his narrative, we can see into slavery from a physical state as well as from a mental state. Frederick Douglass' narrative of his life is an account of his experiences both during and following his life as a slave. It focuses on an area of spiritual development that is at the same time contradicted by the lack of movement on more concrete levels, specifically those of an equal, legal freedom as well as a mental and emotional freedom from slavery. It is in the middle of this battle for spirituality that he encounters and develops his faith and comes to terms with himself as not only as a slave, but also as a man, an African American.Perhaps the one aspect of slavery Douglass may have been the most fit to speak about was the consequences of adultery committed by slave owners with their female slaves. Douglass himself was "mulatto, half black, half white. His mother, Harriet Bailey was a slave. Douglass' father is believed to be his mother's owner Aaron Anthony" (Huggins, 33). In most cases of a slave having the baby of a master it was not due to a love affair, but rape. The master would either be doing this just for the feeling of power or for an inhumane way of making profit, creating more slaves. These "mulatto slaves like Douglass' had it even harder in some cases than other slaves" (Huggins, 34), if that is possible to imagine. "Mulatto's brought on a lot of conflict. For one, this child was a constant reminder to its master's...

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