Fredrick Douglass The analysis By Justin Ruano 11/14/11 Hist Am Civ 1607-1877 [pic] Have you ever wondered to yourself if you firmly belief in something that you could understand the opposite side of it? Well if you just so happened to believe in slavery and I were to tell you a story about an American born slave that is making his case to abolish I, would you listen? In the book Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Fredrick Douglass in his portion of the book goes on to make his case that slavery should be abolished.
The way he goes about reasoning why it should be abolished is first he tells us about his experience during his period of slavery and in that experience it explains with a main point why and how it works. Secondly, he uses this book as a tool to help expose the true evil of slavery and uses once again experience which is a helpful thing. Lastly, he uses the fact that slave owners make the slaves ignorant of their age, where they were born, and who their parents are. Fredrick Douglass throughout this book uses experiences to show why slavery should be abolished.
Fredrick Douglass was born in 1818 and he died in 1895, and he was born into slavery in Talbot Country, Maryland. (Fredrick Douglass facts page) In chapter 1, Fredrick Douglass said that he had witnessed these beatings and that it had happened often. “I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition. I was quite a child, but I well remembered it. … It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant…” (Douglass pg 21) For example, the last paragraph of( page 21) going to( page 22) is the first experience of the beatings he witnessed. He took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist, leaving her neck, shoulders, and back entirely naked…. ” By using experiences, he is able to show people that even some slave owners kill their slaves from beating. Murder is a sin especially for the religious people who were not so affected by this. For example on the bottom of (page 25) Fredrick Douglass Notes that Mr. Severe was called a very cruel man. Also noted that he had seen him whip a woman and take great pleasure in doing so. Since when does anyone take pleasure in torturing people is my question.
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For Fredrick Douglass, this book was his greatest resource to convincing people to abolish slavery because, slavery did not affect many people and especially for white people, they of course were not going to care. The challenge fir Douglass was that people didn’t know and they didn’t care. That was his biggest challenge. Books don’t lie. For Fredrick Douglass, he would have liked to be alive during the time slavery was officially gone. For example why this book helped him make his case is because he went through these things and witnessed these events. His biography of how slavery really was like back then.
Beatings to the point slaves would die due to a lot of bleeding. The main point for this reason of how he went about to explain his case is this book. He wrote it with events, names, dates. Things that define what history is. Another example of how his book was a tool to help him make his case is that throughout this whole book he talked about a lot of violence from the beatings that he witnessed. In the First chapter he mentioned how he was roughly 7 years old and he witnessed a brutal beating his master gave one of the salves that was with Fredrick Douglass. Pg 21) Finally, by using this book as a tool he exposed evil by once again talking about his experiences about slavery. Fredrick Douglass a few times in the book says that the slave-owners tend to make the slaves ignorant of their age, where there from, and even their parents. For example, he says on the very first page of chapter one that, “ By far the large part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. ”(Douglass pg 17) For someone to not know their age or mainly anything about themselves is pretty ridiculous.
He also says on the same page that he doesn’t really know anyone who even knows their own birthday, nor is he knowledgeable of his age. For him just trying to make his case about slavery should be abolished is hard enough. To even have a hard time to find out his age is also pretty unbelievable. Also for him once again trying to make a case that it should be abolished was very difficult but to not even recall his mother’s death or anything is pretty sad. For the people he is trying to convince is also an advance fro his case because he must know that none of them would want to be like him not remembering or knowing anything about himself.
Lastly, For Fredrick Douglass to be able to learn his year of birth from a conversation he overheard from his master when trying to make his case would in his mind help him to win the audience he has. Throughout the course of the book Fredrick Douglass makes his case about how slavery should be abolished. The way he goes about that is he talks about his experiences so that his audience will get a good view of exactly what is going on and then determine what works. He then uses the book as a tool so that he has an even stronger case about why it should be abolished.
Finally, he talks about how the slave-owners would rather have their slaves to be ignorant about how exactly they are and when they were born, age, and even parents. Hes uses these three things to make his case of why slavery should be abolished and the biggest “how” is using the book as a tool. Personal Reaction to Fredrick Douglass Part of reading My personal reaction to the book is that I thought there was a lot of emotion that he spilled out into this book and that is what truly made this book enjoyable for me to read. Biographies are my favorite types of books.
When I first picked up this book I though it wasn’t going to be a very good book because reading books about someone’s slavery story isn’t what I like to read but as I started to get into the book I thought it was very hard to put down and it was one of the best books that I have read. It was something new to me by reading it but to me it was very good about learning how his life basically went dealing with being a slave and then trying to argue how slavery should be abolished. Very good narrative and I would defitnely recommend this book for someone to read.
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