Living Life As Livestock Essay examples

Submitted By Kristal-Aparicio
Words: 1850
Pages: 8

Kristal Aparicio
C19TH African American Literature
November 4, 2014 Living Life as Livestock Imagine living life as a generic African American and not as an individual. Imagine if every day you wake up alone with no one to lay your head on when in need, Imagine life alone. The life of a slave seems to be the life we would imagine. Morality lies within oneself, One decides what is moral and what is immoral considering your own values. Common sense dictates that slavery is immoral but as Voltaire once said, “Common sense is not so common.” Placing ourselves in the 19th century, Freedom is a luxury and not everyone had the right to be luxurious. Luxury depended on race and social class. Where you are from, where you are raised and who raises you determines the life you are given and the extent to which you know about freedom and what it’s like to be free. Domesticity is the root of freedom, for anyone, especially for a slave. Frederick Douglas, a well known slave in the 19th century, left us a narrative with first hand experiences as an African American in the time of enslavement. Born in Maryland, on an unknown day, Douglas tells us who his mother was, Harriet Bailey, and that throughout his life he saw her a short four to five times. Raised by masters not by blood, we see that Douglas learns his ways from who he is directed by. The environment which a slave is raised in determined the mood a slave is in most of the time, I for instance believe highly in vibes. Our attitude radiates energy, the life at the home of the slave is not only determined by the rules they must follow but also by the way they feel at home in terms of their emotions. A happy domesticity leads to greater productivity and better treatment of slaves. Under the control of a slave owner the idea of freedom is entirely wiped away from the life of a slave, freedom is greatly dependent on domesticity. To be free is not only to do as you please based on actions but also depends on what you can say and what you can think. Though no one but you can manage your thoughts, your actions alter the way you think and so not having the right to freedom, deprives the right to speak and think in any way out of the ordinary. To be free one must be literate. To be literate is equivalent to knowing how to write and speak. Education was one of the greatest luxuries that came hand in hand with freedom, both which were taken away from slaves. Throughout the narrative of his life we learn from Douglas that in order to be educated, we must be taught by someone else who knows how to do both. Slave owners believed that if a slave knew how to read and write they would find their way to freedom and all though this was true, proven later, it was unfair to the slaves just like everything else. Douglas was and still is considered to be one of the luckiest slaves. His life was rough and unpleasant but there were many things he was saved from that not any other slave was. When Douglas moved in with Mr. and Mrs. Auld, he began to get a taste of a somewhat normal life as Mrs. Auld would secretly teach him the A,B,C’s. She helped him learn some fairly simple words, words that were made up of three to four letters. Douglas learned fairly fast and never let anyone know how much he really knew. Once Douglas was beginning to benefit from the teachings and was producing knowledge, Mr. Auld found out about the secret lectures. The next lecture we are introduced to as we read this narrative, is the lecture Mr. Auld gives Mrs. Auld. According to Mr. Auld in his own words, “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. 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. Now, if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become an unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do