Lacking and second hand brutality, Frederick Douglass refers to

Lacking freedom and liberty in the 19th century, African Americans are continuously physically and mentally oppressed by their owners in slavery. Yet under a white male’s influence, many people are led to believe that slaves are well treated and content with their lives. In Frederick Douglass’ autobiography Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, the penman writes from an abolitionary perspective, exposing the real conditions that slaves experience. He does so in efforts to rid the degrading bondage and countering slave owners’ argument for the validity of slavery that is deemed moral. In order to convince the majority of white audience to understand his argument to end slavery, the author portrays the horrors of it through personal accounts of atrocious treatment of slaves and the dehumanization of the individual.As one who has formerly tolerated and witnessed first and second hand brutality, Frederick Douglass refers to various anecdotes regarding encounterances with sources of slaves suffering. Recalling a traumatizing instance of an immediate relative, Douglass tells of disturbing beatings he often hears: “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” (Douglass 3-4). By using imagery, Douglass appeals to the visual sense. The writer creates a violent picture in the mind, allowing us to individually make sense of the unforgiving pain inflicted on the helpless woman. He describes her shrieks as heart-rending to portray an agonizing scene, one of which has left bodily and emotional scarring. Douglass builds on a similar incident, illustrating another female abuse: “I have seen him whip a woman, causing the blood to run half an hour at the time; and this, too, in the midst of her crying children, pleading for their mother’s release” (7). With a more emotional approach, the author appeals to a sense of motherly affection. Douglass personified blood to indicate the woman’s excessive bleeding due to her mercilessly battered state. He mentions the beaten woman’s children, who react in such a way that displays great sorrow for their inability to save their mother. Through his usage of pathos, Douglass’ audience can reflect on this tragedy and express sympathy for the atrocity experienced by this family. Despite the visible torment endured by slaves, white folks nevertheless act ruthlessly toward them. Although slaves are known as people who perform involuntary service, white owners reduce their status to less than just legal property by treating them as they would an animal. African Americans are dehumanized as a race. They are given coarse, boiled cornmeal, which was put into a wooden tray on the ground for them to devour:  “The children were then called, like so many pigs, and like so many pigs they would come and devour the mush” (16). Slaves are given the same meals as the pigs on the plantations, if not a lesser amount to eat. The lives of slaves are viewed by their owners as less important than the actual animals on the plantation. Using a simile, Douglass expresses that slave children not only share exact food with the pigs, but are called to get, and consume it the same way the animals would. Like animals, children of slaves are given away and sold without a second thought from white owners: “-and in their hands she saw her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, divided, like so many sheep…” (28). Slaves are handled with as though they are less than a human being. Douglass uses a simile to prove that slave owners view African American lives as equal to that of a sheep. Slave owners are insensitive whether or not people are together with their families. They are unconcerned about separation and breaking kin relations. They are chained in shackles, restrained even further from freedom as they are being shipped off. Being compared to and treated as animals, slaves are mentally stripped of their identity and dignity, as they have already physically been stripped of clothing. White Americans claim that African Americans are content with their lives and the work that they do. Yet in their perspective, slaves are animals. Therefore, they personify the animals, and mistaken their happiness for slaves’. Throughout this narrative, Frederick Douglass explains and asserts the false justifications that slave owners claimed were true. In revelation of the untold actions of slave owners toward their slaves, Douglass’ audience were able to perceive his message, finally aware of the evil that is slavery. His chronicles bring out realization and empathy in others, convincing them to be open minded for a possibility of change. In modern day America, slavery ceases to exist, racism having taken place. Blacks remain oppressed, not having the equal freedom, justice, and ability to thrive as others. Although racial tensions reflect the United States in the 19th century, liberation movements such as Black Lives Matter strive to stop violence and neglect in the African American community. Our generation is fortunate enough to be able to be educated about slavery, and therefore need to take it upon ourselves to be upstanders for equality. As more people revolve this issue in their universe of obligation, justice will soon prevail for all.