The Brutalizing Effects Of Slavery Illustrated In The Book, Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

1697 words - 7 pages

Frederick Douglass, the author of the book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, said “I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both slave and slaveholder” (Douglass, p.71). Modern people can fairly and easily understand the negative effects of slavery upon slave. People have the idea of slaves that they are not allow to learn which makes them unable to read and write and also they don’t have enough time to take a rest and recover their injuries. However, the negative effects upon slaveholder are less obvious to modern people. People usually think about the positive effects of slavery upon slaveholder, such as getting inexpensive labor. In the book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, Douglass also shows modern readers some brutalizing impact upon the owner of the slaves. He talks about Thomas Auld and Edward Covey who are his masters and also talks about Sophia Auld who is his mistress. We will talk about those three characters in the book which will help us to find out if there were the negative influences upon the owner of the slaves or not. Also, we will talk about the power that the slaveholders got from controlling their slaves and the fear that the slaveholders maybe had to understand how they were changed.
Thomas Auld had been a poor men and he came into possession of all his slaves by marriage. He was a cowardly cruel slaveholder and he didn’t have the ability to hold slaves. He also realized that his incapable of managing his slaves. However, he wanted the power and wished to be called master by his slaves (Douglass, p. 76~77). He became a cruel man from possessing all of his wife’s slaves and becoming a slaveholder. He had to be cruel to be looked like a powerful slaveholder, to control his slaves and to be called master by his slaves. One day, Auld went to a Methodist camp-meeting and Douglass hoped that his conversion would make him more kind and humane, but it didn’t happen. Actually, it made him even more cruel and hateful and he made greatest pretensions to piety. He remained as a cruel slaveholder, but he prayed everyday and he proved himself an instrument in the hands of the church in converting many souls (Douglass, p. 77). However, his unconvincing performance and pretending as a Christian made him even crueler. Also, since he was a slaveholder and a Christian, he couldn’t avoid having a double life. He was a mean and cruel master and a hypocrite for his slaves, but he was a faithful Christian for other white Christians. His cruelty and double life are showing readers how slavery can impact the slaveholders in a negative way.
Moreover, Edward Covey was also a slaveholder like Thomas Auld and he pretended that he was a Christian. Douglass talked about Covey that “Everything he possessed in the shape of learning or religion, he made conform to his disposition to deceive. He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty. He would make a short prayer in the morning, and...

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