In the 1800's century, there were so many slaves living in the south. The slavery was the individuals who worked for their master and they were treated as personal property. The slaves were assigned various duties by their masters. They worked for longer hours and in a very poor working environment. They were tortured to make them remain submissive to their masters. Most of the slaves started working in the morning and were never given any break until sunset. Frederic autobiography narrates how life was in the life of slavery (Douglass, p.23). They were not even allowed to know their age. Frederic brings out many themes including education, religion and slavery. He says that slavery and religion do not just go together as they are two opposite forces. Historically, religion has been accused of perpetuating slavery in the past years. It is on this backdrop that Douglas examines slavery in the context of religion.
In his book, he brings out two forms of Christianity; the true Christianity, and the hypocrisy life in Christianity. He says that while most slaves followed the true Christianity, their masters followed the hypocrisy life in Christianity. All through the discussion, the reader gets to know that Christianity and slavery are two different forces that are repellant to each other. Douglass put together the two forms of Christianity to bring out hidden hypocrisy in the South. In chapter one, Fredrick explains more about the ever increasing population of the diverse population. The population has rapidly increased so much such that there is a need to form other laws that will incorporate them equally as other races. According to the author, he nullifies the argument that slavery is justified in the holy books (Douglass, p.43).
According to the holly book, the scripture says that God cursed all the Ham descendants. The mulatto children are never cursed according to the scriptures. This makes Douglass stand firm that slavery is not right and should not be justified. In Colonel Lloyd's farm, there lived Mr. Severe who was disliked by most slaves because of his brutality. When he passes away, people consider this as a mercy from God. He is later replaced by Mr. Hopkins who people view as someone who is human and refer to him as an overseer (Douglass, p.45). Douglass is chosen to go and live in Baltimore while they were still working in the Great House Farm. He considers this as a blessing from God and says that even while he is in the lowest level of life, he will not stop proclaiming the goodness of God. This is brought out clearly in chapter three.
While they were still serving in the Great House Farm, his family is later sold out to other master and his grandmother is left to die alone. This fate was so unjust to his grandmother and he is only left to wonder if truly God is righteous. In chapter five, Master Thomas claims that he only owns slaves to take care of them and not to use them. He starts up a religious school but later closes it. This shows much of hypocrisy in the lives of their masters. Douglass later meets Mr. Freeland and prefers him to other masters he has ever had. He does not do this because the master is kind but because he is not a hypocrite. He prefers the master who is not a hypocrite more than that who is a religious hypocrite.
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In the Appendix, Douglass brings out more religion remarks and tries to differentiate between true religion and hypocrisy religion. Douglass clarifies this issue of religion so much such that he feels that he must put it in the appendix to elaborate it further. He feels that it is only religion that will help eradicate slavery completely. This makes him emphasize more on religion and tries to differentiate between true religion and hypocrisy religion so that people do not hide in religion and still conduct slavery. Douglass brings out clearly the difference between Jesus Christ Christians and Christians in the South. There are other stands that made Douglass religious beliefs to be confirmed. He used to read the Bible and other hymn books. He was doing this at night when he was only free and was supposed to be sleeping. He later knew how to write and started practicing more (Douglass, p.76). He knew that this was the only way to free him and make him a free man.
This religious education enlightened him more and made him remain soft even in difficult times when he really felt that life was growing harder and bitter. He believed that the religious education will make him see beyond the bondage and have hope of future freedom. He uses the appendix to emphasize his position on religion. He insists that there is still a big gap that is yet to be filled between the corrupt Christianity and the pure Christianity. He brings out the difference between the two types of Christianity. He does not describe how he escaped from the slavery and says that this was not ethical. He also says that he do not want to teach other people ways of escape. He says that when he shows people his way of escape to the people, it will not reduce slavery but change the slaves into the hunted animals. This will not have improve any situation but made it worse (Douglass 98). Douglass insist that however much he writes books about his experience or perform his experience, nobody will ever get to know what he went through unless the person experience it on his own.
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