DWC201 – 001
October 8, 2018
What are the similar impacts of slavery on the slaves and slaveholders in the African American society that both Douglass and Brown mention in their biographies?
William Wells Brown and Frederick Douglass are two famous figures in the American and African American literature in the nineteenth century. They are both famous for their biographies that reflect the life of slaves and condemns the institution of slavery in American society. These two biographies are Narrative of Williams W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave, Written by Himself and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Readers can see that these two writings both shows the moral impacts of slavery not only on the slaves but also the slaveholders. It perverts the idea of Christianity, corrupts good people and separates family members.
First of all, slavery has perverted the idea of Christianity. The Southern churches misuse the religion to promote the action of slavery and make it become not sinful. In fact, slavery completely goes again the peaceful and good intention of Christianity. In the Narrative of Williams W. Brown, Brown writes, “ … when whipped, he must not find fault, — for the Bible says, ‘He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes!’ And slaveholders find such religion very profitable to them” (Brown, 47). Slaveholders claim that the slaves are born as they are; in other words, it is their fate that they must be slaves, and they have to serve the slaveholders what they want. Slaveholders change the teaching of the Bible so that it benefits them for the evil acts they do; while, in fact, the Bible says in an opposite idea. In the Narrative of Frederick Douglass, he also makes the same point about the slaveholders’ perversion of Christianity. He writes, “ … him tie up a lame young woman, … causing the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture – ‘He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.’” (Douglass, 52). Readers can see that Douglass mentions the same quote from the Bible that Brown uses to illustrate the perversion of Christianity in the institution of slavery. This implies that many slaveholders share the same idea of Christianity in the African American society in the nineteenth century. They slaveholders all think that Christianity is a momentum for their cruel action. In other words, they are blind following the teaching of Christianity without knowing that they are being deceived.
Slavery also impacts on the morally good people, which turns them into cruel and evil people. In the Narrative of Frederick Douglass, he writes, “That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon” (Douglass, 36). Mrs....