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Frederick Douglass - Essay Example

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The most dominant portrayal of Douglass among slaveholders is their cruelty. Douglas narrative about slaveholders was peppered with cruelty making it obvious that in general, slaveholders were cruel. It began with Anthony the superintendent of Colonel Lloyd who allowed the slaves to be maltreated. …
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Frederick Douglass
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Frederick Douglass

Download file to see previous pages... Colonel Lloyd himself, the boss of Anthony and the wealthiest slaveholder in Maryland whose plantation was known as the Great House Farm had cruel overseers himself who would brutally beat slaves. But the cruelest of the slaveholders in Douglas narrative all was Edward Covey, the famous “slave breaker” who had the perversion of taking pride in taming the slaves. According to the narrative of Frederick Douglas, “Mr. Covey had acquired a very high reputation for breaking young slaves, and this reputation was of immense value to him. It enabled him to get his farm tilled with much less expense to himself than he could have had it done without such a reputation” [53]. Thus, this reputation was deliberately concocted by Mr. Covey in order to profit from the slave by making them till his land at a lesser cost under the pain of fear.
Douglass also portrayed his masters as hypocrites particularly Edward Covey who had the pretension of righteousness by donning the mantle of Christian religiosity. In Douglass narrative, Mr. Covey was singled out as the exemplar of slave owner’s hypocrisy of pretending to be a good and charitable man but in fact oppresses another human being through slavery and worst, brutally maltreats the slaves with the pride of breaking them. In Douglass words, “Mr. Covey, he was a professor of religion—a pious soul—a member and a class-leader in the Methodist church. All of this added weight to his reputation as a “nigger-breaker” [53]. ...
It may sound strange but in Douglass eyes, Mr. Covey’s religiosity did not impress him but rather compounded his anxiety as it added to Mr. Covey’s reputation as “nigger breaker”. Douglass also portrayed slaveholders to be greedy and unjust. This portrayal was present in his narrative in the characters of his favorite tormentor Mr. Covey, the wealthy landowner Colonel Lloyd and his benign master Thomas. Mr. Covey deliberately instilled fear among slaves with his reputation as “nigger breaker” to short change them in tilling his lands. Colonel Lloyd on the other hand would provide meager allowances to his slaves while overworking them. Thomas is more subtle in his ways of letting Douglass find employment by calking but still, he was unjust to Douglass. He let Douglass work but his earnings in calking goes to Thomas. Douglass bitterly resented this set up with his narrative that “He received all the benefits of slaveholding without its evils; while I endured all the evils of a slave, and suffered all the care and anxiety of a freeman. I found it a hard bargain. But, hard as it was, I thought it better than the old mode of getting along [84]. But just when he thought that Thomas was different of all the slaveholders in a sense that he do not beat them, he was proven wrong when he came home late from work because the remittance of his earnings was also given late to Thomas. Douglas recalled “I found him very angry; he could scarce restrain his wrath. He said he had a great mind to give me a severe whipping [84]. Almost unanimously, almost all slaveholders in Douglas narrative were either cruel or unjust except of a little exception in the person of Mrs. Auld who did not maltreat him. In fact, in her kindness, she offered to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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