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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

by Frederick Douglass

Family Quotes

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Quote #4

The frequency of this has had the effect to establish among the slaves the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head. They suppress the truth rather than take the consequences of telling it, and in so doing prove themselves a part of the human family. (3.6)

In telling us that slaves often had to lie in order to protect themselves, Douglass might seem to be criticizing those who lacked his courage to stand up for what was right, no matter what the consequences. But he wants to assure us that this doesn't make these slaves any less part of the human family; in fact, it is exactly this urge for self-preservation that makes them a part of the human family.

Quote #5

I lived in Master Hugh's family about seven years. (7.1)

Even though Douglass lives as a part of Master Hugh's family, he is in it without being of it. Slaves are inside the household without fully being family members.

Quote #6

The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families,--sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers,--leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. (Appendix.1)

In the appendix, Douglass shows his rage at religious hypocrites who preach one thing then do the complete opposite. His main example is all the religious people who preach sermons about the importance of family, then rip apart the families of the slaves they own.

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