The life of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs.

Essay by bmwc325 November 2003

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Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are two authors with very similar backgrounds. Both Douglass and Jacobs were slaves, and both wrote about the accounts they went through while enslaved. Jacobs views are expressed in "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," and Jacobs views in "Incidents in The Life of a Slave Girl. Douglass's work is directed towards anyone willing to listen, and emphasized the fact that slavery was evil and dehumanized those of the African American race. Jacobs aims her work towards upper class white women because she feels they will have sympathy for how she was treated because she is also a female. Both writers wrote about the hardships of slavery, but their stories are different due to the fact that Douglass is a male and Jacobs is a female.

The major similarity that both writers have is their hatred of the harsh treatment slaves had to endure.

Both writers feel slavery brings a person down and weakens the spirit of the African American race. Douglass tells of the whippings slaves received and how "the louder she [a slave] screamed, the harder he [master] whipped" (2042). Douglass said that whippings were the "most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it" (2042). Douglass tells of how slaves were beat even when they had done nothing wrong, depicting that the slave owner liked beating his slaves. Harriet Jacobs tells stories of whippings as well as stories of how slaves were treated as property. Not only were slaves bought and sold like property, but Jacobs relived accounts of her master taking full control of her and threatening to kill her. Jacobs master said "Do you know that I have a right to do as I like with...