In Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, which aspects of slavery do you think would be especially difficult for the slaves?But probably not something that whites without slaves would know...

In Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, which aspects of slavery do you think would be especially difficult for the slaves?

But probably not something that whites without slaves would know about?

Asked on by zorico91

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think one of the aspects of this narrative that would have most surprised the non-slave owning white audience would be the way in which Frederick Douglass attacks the hypocrisy within Christianity as he narrates the variety of experiences that he has in growing up and living as a slave in the South, and the way that devout Christians, in his opinion, make the worst slave owners. Note the way that Douglass points out this hypocrisy that lies at the heart of white Christianity, as he sees it:

They love the heathen on the other side of the globe. They can pray for him, pay money to have the Bible put into his hand, and missionaries to instruct him, while they despite and totally neglect the heathen at their own doors.

Douglass references Christian slave owners a few times during his narrative, and he makes it absolutely clear that their slaves experience the worst deal of slavery. There is nothing "good" about being owned by a devout master or mistress, as they seem to use their religion to justify their harsh treatment of their slaves. This is something that perhaps would have greatly surprised his white audience who did not own slaves themselves.

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