The part about the gnat and camel comes from Matthew 23:24, where Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. (Appendix.1). The work of instructing my dear fellow-slaves was the sweetest engagement with which I was ever blessed. All his writings and works reflect his powerful thoughts on issues that were dear to him. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!" boston published at the anti-slavery office, no. correct white readers’ misconceptions. Chapter 1, pg. This is one of the most famous passages in the book. I had as well die with ague as the fever. But here's the thing: even Covey is fooled! ), He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty. Visit to buy new and used textbooks, and check out our award-winning NOOK tablets and eReaders. Chapter 4, pg. I had as well be killed running as die standing. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Is there any God? However, the “deep” meaning of the He says that the songs Chapter 6, pg. God, deliver me! this kind heart had but a short time to remain such. of the slaves’ deep unhappiness. Southerners often defended slavery by talking about how they were bringing Christianity to slaves, but Douglass (who is a dedicated Christian) wants to show that the opposite is true. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. (In fact, he wrote the entire appendix just to explain that he was against hypocrites, not religion itself. to the Great House Farm and analyzes this as a common experience If I could fly! A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do.'" explains that many Northerners mistakenly believe that the singing Go on, go on. that the songs were difficult to understand—“apparently incoherent” to outsiders—but that the slaves themselves understood the literal meaning 90, Quote 9: "Will not a righteous God visit for these things?" the experiences of that former self. (10.23). Let me be free! Chapter 4, pg. Yet he still continues to teach the other slaves to read (and to read the Bible). 63, Quote 3: "'It is better that a dozen slaves suffer under the lash, than that the overseer should be convicted, in the presence of the slaves, of having been at fault.'" narrative of the life of frederick douglass an american slave. his former slave self in order to become a narrator capable of interpreting Sunday was my only leisure time. O, that I were on one of your gallant decks, and under your protecting wing! Since his friends in the abolitionist movement were Christians, too, some of them thought he was attacking them instead of religious imposters. My sufferings on this plantation seem now like a dream rather than a stern reality. Look at the bottom of the page to identify which edition of the text they are referring to. Could I but swim! I was sometimes prompted to take my life, and that of Covey, but was prevented by a combination of hope and fear. Douglass ends by questioning how a righteous God (a God who does the right things) can really rule the universe, since He allows terrible things like slavery to exist. slavery for outside audiences. He would make a short prayer in the morning, and a long prayer at night; and, strange as it may seem, few men would at times appear more devotional than he. The glad ship is gone; she hides in the dim distance. 77-78, Quote 7: "'If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. Chapter 10, pg. (10.19), Truth: Douglass got in some trouble for attacking the hypocrisy of Christians in the South, but he never backed away from that attack. © 2020 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. Implicit in this quotation The quotation further provides an example of the tension inherent in the Narrative. Douglass wants to be completely clear that he isn't against religion or Christianity in general: he's just against the kind of religion that justifies slavery. Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me. Covey (whom Douglass is talking about here) is a good example. I am left in the hottest hell of unending slavery. Frederick Douglass I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative, that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. There is a lot going on here, but one of the most important is that it's Douglass's crisis of faith, where he demands to know how God can exist if He allows Douglass to be a slave. 65, Quote 4: "it was worth a half-cent to kill a 'nigger,' and a half-cent to bury one." You are freedom's swift-winged angels, that fly round the world; I am confined in bands of iron! 140, Quote 14: "Sincerely and earnestly hoping that this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system, and hastening the glad day of deliverance to the millions of my brethren in bonds-faithfully relying upon the power of truth, love, and justice, for success in my humble efforts-and solemnly pledging my self anew to the sacred cause,-I subscribe myself, FREDERICK DOUGLASS." 105, Quote 11: "My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. the literal and the “deep” meaning of the songs. Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. But instead of turning against God, Douglass turns the problem around: since there is a God, he reasons, God will help him become free.

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