*THIS PAPER IS FOR REFERENCE AND STUDYING PURPOSEES ONLY! PLEASE DO NOT PLAGARIZE OR COPY THIS PAPER AS IT IS AGAINST THE WISHES OF THE AUTHOR AND THE CODE OF ACADEMIC HONESTY. THANK YOU. Paper on the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass Cruelty: A Necessity of Slavery The most shocking and disturbing aspect of Frederick Douglass’ narrative was the cruelty exacted unto the slaves by their masters. Whether punishment was exacted on the whipping post or the auctioneers stand, the slave master and overseer never hesitated to harm the slaves for even the smallest infraction. Douglass’ account showed that the harsh treatment of slaves was not a by-product of their bondage, but rather a necessary ingredient. Aunt Hester’s punishment was the first time Douglass’ witnessed such brutality, but it wouldn’t be the last. Douglass would never forget that awful sight in the kitchen, the “warm red blood dripping to the floor, amid heart-rending shrieks from her and horrid oaths from him.” No child should have had to witness what Douglass did that day, but such events were common place on plantations. Douglass recalled that the master, Captain Anthony, “would at times seem to take great pleasure in whipping a slave” (23). Anthony was so desensitized to the pain and suffering required by slavery that “it required extraordinary barbarity on the part of an overseer to affect him.” The occupation of master or overseer on a plantation required extreme brutality and an indifference to human suffering, skills only a truly hateful person could possess. Douglass states that his first overseer, Mr. Severe, was rightly named. He could whip a sobbing mother in front of her children to with no remorse, and would often beat slaves that didn’t start for the field at the sound of the horn. He had a short lived but barbaric career. His death was met with rejoicing by the slaves, whom regarded it as a merciful act of providence. Mr. Severe’s replacement, Mr. Hopkins, was known by the slaves as a good and kind overseer, not because he didn’t whip the slaves, but he took no pleasure in doing so. “His course,” said Douglass “was characterized by no extraordinary demonstrations of cruelty” (28). And yet, for that very reason he was soon replaced by another overseer, a cruel and merciless man, in other words, a first-rate overseer. Finally, the greatest offense committed by slave owners was the separation of families. Frederick Douglass became a victim of this practice firsthand when his mother was sold to a different owner when he was an infant. In fact, children of slaves were routinely separated from their mothers, sometimes before the child was even a year old. This practice kept the slaves divided and weakened ties between family members. Douglass dispassionately recalled that when his own mother died, “I received the news of her death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger” (21). Douglass’ detachment in talking about his mother’s death shows how slavery not only desensitized the people that propagated it, but also those that suffered under it. The institution of slavery did not beget cruelty and acts of extreme violence, but rather required them in order to function properly. Mr. Hopkins, in lacking an affinity for inflicting pain unto others, was missing a vital character trait required to be an overseer. All the masters and overseers shared a common trait; they enjoyed visiting acts of extreme brutality upon the innocent slaves, and felt no remorse in doing so. And the all too common practice of separating children from their mothers was used to blunt the affection shared between the two. Can slaves like Douglass ever recover from such a terrible desensitization? Is it possible for slavery to exist without exercising barbaric measures?