In Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,
he appeals to the interest of the reader through his first hand
accounts of slavery, his use of irony in these descriptions, and his
balance between indirectness and honesty.
Douglass's descriptions of the harshness of slave life are filled with
horrific details able to reach even the coldest hearts. The beginning
of the book describes how Douglass lacks even the simplest knowledge
of his own age. He goes on in the book to describe how he has no
accurate knowledge of his age, because he has never seen any of the
authentic records containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves,
know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is
probably the wish of most masters to keep their slaves with only a
limited amount of knowledge.
In saying this Douglass is showing how low the life of a slave is
compared to other humans. The idea of slaves being seen as merely work
animals is placed into our minds and is set for an idea to shape the
life of Frederick Douglass.
Douglass also gives accounts of the horrific treatment of slaves by
the plantation owners. He describes how at times a master would seem
to take great pleasure in whipping a slave and how he woke up many
times from the screams of his fellow companions. He mentions the
tangible blood and shrieks to emphasize the pain and torture of a
human being. This slave bleeds like any other person and so it is
easier for us to become concerned while reading the quote.
Douglass's brutal description of slave life reaches a climax when he
comes under the care of the slave-breaker Mr. Covey. One day when
Douglass has reached beyond the point of true exhaustion and collapses
sick, Mr. Covey discovers him. After kicking...