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Word Count: 574
In his essay Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave Douglass discusses the effects of slavery on slaves themselves but also on slave owners Specifically he focuses on how slavery affected Mrs Auld his masters wife Mrs Auld was from the North and had never owned a slave before When Douglass first came to live with her she had been preserved from the blighting light and dehumanizing effects of slavery Slowly Mrs Auld became corrupted by the irresponsible power of owning a slave and her behavior was completely altered by this power Through Mrs Auld Douglass illustrates to his reader how dehumanizing slavery is not only to the slave but to the slaveholder as well In describing his first encounter with Mrs Auld it seems Douglass is in awe of her presence which has been untainted by the power of slavery According to Douglass The meanest slave was put fully at ease in her presence and none left without feeling better for having seen her Douglass sees her in a totally different light than any other white women he has ever met He describes his first encounter with her admitting I was utterly astonished by her goodness I scarcely knew how to behave towards her Using vivid imagery Douglass allows his readers to imagine Mrs Auld before her drastic change He writes for example how Her face was made of heavenly smiles and her voice of tranquil music Perhaps Mrs Aulds kindest deed and most valuable contribution to Douglass is teaching him to read Through descriptions and illustrations Douglass provides the reader a basis by which to compare the before and after effects of slavery When Mr Auld finds out that Mrs Auld has been teaching young Douglass to read she receives her first exposure to the cruelness of slavery Mr Auld instructs her if you teach a nigger to read there
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