The Life of Frederick Douglass

Published: 2021-06-29 06:54:20
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In the book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American slave, by Frederick Douglass, violence plays a huge role in his life when slaves are punished harshly and regularly to strike fear into their hearts and deter them from escaping or misbehaving. Douglass saw the whipping of a slave, and mentally marks this memory as the gate of the entrance to the hell of slavery, and he demonstrates his manhood by becoming his own master when he learns to read and write.
Slave holders are cruel master, making the slaves bend to their will as if they are some sort of animal to be controlled. Slave holders believe that ignorance is best for a slave, so they whipped them harshly and often, because the slave owners don't want the slave to try misbehaving or escaping. Douglass is moved by the whipping of his aunt, and "No words, no tears, no prayers from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose" (7). This is just one of many examples when slaves are punished harshly by extreme violence from their infamous slaveholders. Even as the whipping progresses "The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped the longest" (7). This punishment is given to his aunt because she has directly disobeyed the master's orders, and although her reasons for disobeying are unclear, her master made it seem as if she had brought incitement to his household.
When Douglass was witnessing his first whipping, he marks this memory as the gate of the entrance to the hell of slavery. One of the torturous things in the "hell of slavery" included the garden in the plantation. The colonels garden is filled with all kinds of fruits and vegetables that are tempting to the slaves after a long day at work. Frederick Douglass notices "The colonel had to resort to all kinds of stratagems to keep the slaves out of his garden" (20). They were prohibited to eat anything from the garden, and this was like a punishment, having plenty of food in reach, but they are not able to eat any of it because it is guarded incessantly. The chief gardener is also innovating the security of the garden. Frederick Douglass observes "That if a slave was caught with any tar upon his person, it was deemed sufficient proof that he had either been in the garden, or he had tried to get in" (20). After all that the slaves are being forced to do, they are also starving, with the food right in front of them. The punishment for being suspected for stealing is a whipping from the irascible chief gardener. In this case, the punishment is too great for such a small crime. Douglass learns that sometimes the innocent are punished for the crime of the guilty.
Frederick Douglass learned many things in his life, and eventually he became his own master by learning to read. He would use the knowledge that he would trick other people into teaching him. The slaves incessant

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