Describe the daily lives of slaves according to Douglass. How did they live? From what did they suffer? What was important to them?no

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frederick Douglass has a great deal of personal experience because he was a slave and seen first hand how they were treated. As a child he witnessed people getting whipped and beaten (including himself) and he went hungry and cold many times.

He also talked about how slave owners did not want their slaves to learn how to read. The owners wanted them to remain illiterate.

Douglass also said that slaves were not allowed to defend themselves. If a white person said they did something wrong then they took the word of that person.

Children were also forced to watch their mothers getting whipped while they stood by and screamed. In addition, many times children were taken from their mothers as infants.

This was all incredibly depressing and Douglass wanted to change this. He became a very important abolitionist and worked very hard for civil rights.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simply put, the daily lives of slaves were exercises in the level of cruelty one can display towards another.  The previous thoughts of the violence present help to bring out the pain and suffering involved in being a slave.  One other element that Douglass brings out is the idea that living a life of enslavement is one of constant fear of someone else's cruelty without a sense of reason behind it.  The breaking up of families, the wanton brutality, and the sense that one could be abused for no fault of their own were also terrifying realities brought out in the narrative.  Douglass also goes to lengths to depict how Christianity was perverted in the South to permit slavery, a part of the life of slave to sense that the supposed God of mercy could have their name twisted in permitting the most merciless of practices.