The Essence of Freedom

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mfuentes809
Words 631
Pages 3
During the nineteenth century, slavery was often told from the perspective of white slave owners, who portrayed it as a daily necessity. The plantation owners perceived their slaves as naturally inferior, and destined to be treated as properties. However in 1845, with the publication of the autobiography of a former slave, Frederick Douglass, the time has come when the slaves were able to tell their own stories. In his inspiring narrative, Douglass describes the corruption of slavery and highlights the essence of freedom: what it means to be freed. According to Frederick Douglass there is not only physical freedom but also intellectual freedom. Therefore in order to live truly freely, one must have both physical freedom and intellectual freedom. The slave owners constrain slaves’ physical freedom by forcing the slaves to submit to the will of their masters. The slave owners also constrain the slaves’ intellectual freedom by keeping the slaves ignorant and illiterate. When Douglass’ mistress Sophia Auld starts to teach him how to read and write, Mr. Auld becomes infuriated. He says, “A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master -- to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world” (78). To the slave owners, they want the slaves to be nothing but laboring machines. They want the slaves to know nothing but the will of their masters. And in that way, the slaves would not recognize slavery as an inhumane institution but accept it as the natural order of life. However, Douglass is able to discern the importance of education as “the pathway from slavery to freedom” (78). In order to be freed, he has to first recognize that slavery deprives human beings of the fundamental rights. The more Douglass reads, the more he recognizes the corrupted behaviors of slave masters. And more he recognizes the corrupted behaviors of slave masters, the…...

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