A Comparison Essay Research Paper The Comparison

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A Comparison Essay, Research Paper The Comparison of the life of Frederick Douglas and the life of Harriet Jacobs throughout is enslavement; Frederick Douglass recollected specific events and tragedies. These events stuck with Douglass only enhancing his quest for freedom. After receiving his freedom as a young adult (supposedly for he didn t know his real age), Frederick Douglass went on to write this book where he tells us of these events, which fuelled his quest for freedom, the ultimate goal for every slave. In the beginning of the book we find out several things about Douglass, he was under the care of his first master, Mr. Plummer, as a child he witnessed the brutal whipping of his aunt. “He would whip to make her scream, and whip to make her hush”(18). Douglass

promised himself that he would never forget the incident as long as he remembered anything. As a child, the constant beating of his aunt was the first of many heinous acts to which Douglass would be a witness too. Douglass saw that this was the fate of all if not every slave recognising it as the eventual outcome that would befall him he knew he had to escape by any means. Douglass also identifies the first realisation of the dehumanising effects of slavery upon his people with the songs, which the slaves sang. The songs “breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish”(25). The slaves used song, intended for joy, to express the unimaginable pain they felt with the stripping of their god given freedom. They used songs to brighten up the dim

dark life they had to live. It was not the words that so agonised Frederick s sprit but the underlying tone of distress that these very songs covered up. Hence, Douglass was deeply affected by the depressing, and sorrowful sentiment in these songs. They became a part of his very being and his determination to escape such a disheartening atmosphere increased even more. The debasing nature of a slave’s life was further stress when Douglass again witnessed a particular incident while under the care of Mr.Gore, decided Demby, Douglas s fellow slave, had become “unmanageable” because he failed to comply with a simple command. Gore, without any provocation shot Demby in the head, His mangled body sank out of sight, and blood and brains marked the water where he had stood. (33)

Although Mr. Gore committed murder, he was able to justify his deed merely by admitting that Demby had not set a “good example” by the disobeying of his orders. The gunman however was unpunished for the crime he committed was not seen as a crime. Mr. Gore went “unwhipped of justice, and uncensored by [his] community”(33). The incident forced Douglass to realise that the murder of a black man was seen as less of a crime than a black man’s refusal to obey a white man’s orders. This clearly demonstrated the extent of the white man’s disregard for the black race and the total lack of power by either a single slave or a group of slaves who could have witness the horror firsthand, but were without the power and fearful of the consequences which would precede if they were

to speak out to, prevent or punish it. For further infuses of the total lack of respect for blacks It was a common saying, even among little white boys, that it was half-cent to kill a nigger, and a half-cent to bury one. It was against the law to educate slaves. It was thought that if slaves were educated, there would be no restraining them and they would realize that they don t have to be slave and revolt. As stated by Douglas s next master, “if you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell”(42). Mrs. Auld, the wife of Douglas s next master, despite strong objection from her husband, taught Douglass the fundamentals of reading. Mr. Auld believed that education was unsafe for a slave, and would furthermore make him ill suited as a slave. The prevailing thought was that