Frederick Douglass Mini Essay
In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave, Douglass describes the dehumanization of both slaves and slave owners. Many slaves were dehumanized by getting beat, raped and even killed. He has seen many horrid things like the incident with Denby’s death and how he had to fight over scraps of food. Douglass not only describes the dehumanization of the slaves, he also talks about how it also changed many of the slave owners that he had encountered.
The first time Douglass sees the dehumanization of the slave owners was when he met Mrs. Auld. She had never owned a slave before so she treated him with respect and with kindness. At first, Mrs. Auld is described by Douglass as angelic, kind, and humble. She taught him the alphabet and how to read. Frederick said, “When I went there, she was a pious, warm, and tender-hearted woman. There was no sorrow or suffering for which she had not a tear. She had bread for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within her reach.”(pg. 82) However, her husband scorned her for teaching a slave how to read. He influenced her with his corrupt mindset about treating slaves and changed Mrs. Auld from “Angelic” to “demonic” as Frederick described. He said, “Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamblike disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness.” This shows how immensely Mrs. Auld was changed just by her husband commanding her and telling her what was right in his mind. Once she discovered this new found power, that she has power over another human being, she used it to her advantage and went from being the nice lady that taught Douglass how to read to the lady that would punish him if she caught him reading. Another example of the dehumanization of the slave owners is Mr. Covey. He was a very religious man and was also nicknamed the...
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