The realities of slavery are some of the harshest moments in American history. Frederick Douglass’s work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, is one of many greet novels that brings these brutalities to reality. Douglass writes about the milestones and defining moments of his life from childhood through adulthood. The major themes that are discussed in his work deal with slavery’s negative effect on slave-owners, slaveholding going against Christianity, and slave’s enforced ignorance and their attempt to gain knowledge for freedom. Within each theme, race, class, and gender are explained.
As seen throughout this work, slavery clearly had a damaging effect on slave-owners moral health. Douglass writes how male slaveholders were tempted to adultery and rape. This lead to slaveholder’s fathering the children of their own female slaves. This essentially threatened the slave-owners families’ unity. Because of his betrayal he would either be forced to possibly have to punish his own child in the future or sell them. The wife of the slave owners often became angry and cruel. In this work Douglass believes his father is indeed his slave-owner, Captain Anthony. Anthony had moved Douglass’s mother to another location so they are rarely in contact. Thomas Auld, much like Captain Anthony, twists his religious beliefs into thinking his sins of adultery and rape are not truly sinful acts. Just as stated previously, his wife would not take this well either. Throughout the text it explains how Sophia Auld, Hugh Auld’s wife, had gone from being a very idealistic individual to an angry and cruel person because of these actions. Ultimately this would cause permanent tension and frustration in the slave-owners home. This could partially be the reason why such harsh treatments, like being wiped and beaten, occurred so often too slaves. Clearly, slavery having a damaging affect on the slave-owners is a strong theme discussed in this...
Cited: Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1960. Print.
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