As the educator above notes, it is difficult for the modern reader to determine where Douglass might be exaggerating, as Douglass experienced the horrors of slavery in a firsthand way that is, fortunately, not available to the modern reader. His narrative is a poignant and realistic account of what it was like for him to grow up as a slave and to then escape slavery.
Readers at the time criticized Douglass for exaggerating the evils of religion, as Douglass wrote that religion in the South at the time only made slaveowners more cruel. In chapter 10, he writes, "For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them the meanest and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others." Douglass described his own, personal experience, so it's near impossible to determine whether or not this was an exaggeration.
However, he felt pressured to add an "Appendix" to his narrative in which he explained that he was not referring to religion...
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