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Fredrick Douglass & Harriet Jacobs Comparative Essay

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Still a shame to the United States today, Slavery is one of the most heartbreaking disasters in history . In an attempt to inform the public of the dreadful facts, many escaped slaves often wrote their experience of slavery and distributed it to the public. Of the many that did this, Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are just two examples. Although Jacobs and Douglass viewed slavery through two completely different senses, they both thought one thing in common: the repulsive business of slavery and how it tore their families apart. The Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

Frederick Douglass lost both his mother and father when he was only six years old. He was raised by his grandmother until he was strong enough to work on the plantation. However, he only did the basic farm work as he couldn't use a hoe. He often saw his master whip and torture slaves. Not long after, He was bought by Sophia and Hugh Auld. Sophia showed him the other face of the white people he despised. "Her face was made of heavenly smiles and her voice of tranquil music (Douglas 41)." She taught him how to read and write. Her teachings made Douglass realize that race can't hold him back from seeking further knowledge. When Hugh Aulds realized what Sophia was teaching, he demanded her to discontinue her teachings. This is the Douglass's first realization that he was a slave and education was his approach to freedom. His views changed once more and he again saw the difference between blacks and whites. After his encounter with the Aulds, Douglass was then sold to Edward Covey. This is the first time where Douglass worked in the field. "We were worked in all weathers. It was never too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or snow, too hard for us to work in the field (Douglass 66)." Covey whipped the teachings of Sophia out of Douglass. He forgot about his strive for education and was too concerned about working for Covey. As he was being beaten, Douglass finally revolted and had a long brawl with Covey. After that incidence, Covey was too petrified to lay a finger on Douglass again. After trying to start a revolt, Douglass was sent back to Baltimore. He worked at a shipyard where he met some free African-Americans and his soon to be wife.

On the other hand, there's Harriet Jacobs. Like Douglass, Jacobs's view of her life was greatly influenced through others. Throughout her narrative, she writes about her and other slaves' craving for freedom. Jacobs' best moments of her life, as she writes, is her childhood. After her mother died at an early age, she is taken care of by her Mistress. "My mistress was so kind to me that I was always glad to do her bidding, and proud to labor for her as much as my young years would permit... Those were happy days (Jacobs 119)." Throughout the rule of her mistress, Jacobs thought



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