Saturday, November 16, 2019

Brutality of Slavery Essay Example for Free

Brutality of Slavery Essay In history, slavery has been a large problem in The United States and has caused many issues. We know slavery as history, while people like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs knew slavery as their lives. Frederick Douglass was a man who was born and raised as a slave, he never knew his mother and watched many terrifying things as a child. Another known slave was Harriet Jacobs; she was a slave who was abused in many ways. Both of these slaves lived through hardship and turbulence growing up. Most people could not even fathom the pain and suffering these two slaves endured. They were considered to be chattel slaves. Chattel is a type of slavery. According to Dictionary. com chattel is â€Å"any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land. † Slaveholders feel as though their slaves have no rights and they are their own property. Most slaves during this time were chattel slaves and were treated very poorly by there slaveholders. In his essay on brutality toward slaves, Frederick Douglass shares some of the horrors that were his reality. As a slave himself, he understands from first-hand experience how badly slaves were treated. He mentions emotional and physical abuse he received from his slaveholder. He talked about how the slaves were not allowed to know how old they were or information that might expose them to more about their families. Douglass mentioned the fact that slaveholders would whip the slaves until bloody while making other slaves watch. Slaveholders would shoot and kill their slaves if they did not follow orders, Douglass acknowledges. Slaveholders would keep all personal information from their slaves. The fact that a slave would not have the right to know how old they are would create emotional hardship and eliminate an important sense of self. Some slaveholders would not allow the slave to know anything about his or her mother or father. They would give the slaves very little information so they could not investigate further. Douglass was one of the slaves who barely knew his own mother. The most he ever saw her was just a few times at night while he was sleeping. She would take the long trip to see him after a long day in the fields, but she would have to be back before morning came the next day. Only being able to see one’s mother three or four times in a person’s life, and not being able to know anymore information about one’s life, would be considered abuse in many ways. Whipping a slave was a very normal action in this time. Slaves, whether they ‘deserved’ it or not, could be whipped for many reasons. Douglass mentions many times when his slaveholder would whip his own aunt. Douglass said, â€Å"I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. † His slaveholder took great pleasure in whipping and torturing his slaves. It is heartbreaking knowing that it was considered socially and morally okay to commit such brutalities. Douglass talks about a time when a slave named Demby was shot and killed in front of an entire plantation of slaves. The slaveholder told Demby to come to him, but Demby refused, so the slaveholder took out his gun and shot him. A thrill of horror flashed through every soul upon the plantation†¦Ã¢â‚¬  said Douglass. The slaveholder said that he killed him because he was â€Å"unmanageable. † He also said that Demby was setting a bad example for the other slaves and if he did not take care of the problem, the other slaves would follow. Women played a vital role in slavery, the pain and suffering they had to endure was terrible. Women had to bear hardship in many different ways such as sexual abuse, chattel type slavery, and the relationship between the slaveholder, his wife and the slave. All of these rigorous situations are forced upon an African American woman creating emotional and physical abuse. While reading Incidences in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, one could notice a constant theme in the slaveholder’s ideology toward the slave. As brought up earlier, most slaves were chattel slaves, meaning that their slaveholders treated them as if they were property and with no respect. Jacobs says, â€Å"He told me I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things. † (Jacobs pg. 2). Obviously, Mr.  Flint treated Jacobs as if he had zero respect for her. Jacobs mid teen years is when her life as a slave girl escalated. Mr. Flint, her slaveholder had absolutely no respect for the fact that she was an innocent young girl. â€Å"My master began to whisper foul words in my ear. Young as I was, I could not remain ignorant of their import. † (Jacobs pg. 1). These actions were not uncommon in slaveholder/slave relationships because of the sense of ownership. The wife of the slaveholder and her relationship to the female slave, in this case being Jacobs, could be detrimental. Not only the relationship between the wife and the female slave is important in history, but it also creates a struggle between the African American female and the slaveholder. The wife could be considered psychotic because of the jealously placed in a relationship such as theirs. Jacobs mentioned thatâ€Å"†¦she spent many a sleepless night to watch over me. Sometimes I woke up, and found her bending over me. † Most people, whether in the same relationship as them or not would think that is weird and would have psychotic tendencies. Insidences in the Life of a Slave Girl and Both narratives written by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs were tools in the abolition of slavery. The narratives gave African Americans a voice. They brought international attention to the issues and brutality of slavery. This basically put pressure on the United States to address the issue. Also, the ideology of slavery is based on the belief that blacks are inferior to whites. When sociologists first began trying to explain inferiority, a big argument was that there was no African literature. These narratives really showed the eloquence of African people.

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