Close Reading of Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass1
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November 30, 2015
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Douglass uses the word “mush” in order to perfectly describe the texture of the food, which people often associate with food that is fed to animals. As if eating mush out of a “large wooden tray or trough[…]set down upon the ground” wasn’t degrading enough, the slaves were deprived of any real utensils and were forced to eat with objects such as “oyster-shells,” “pieces of shingle,” or their “naked hands” (16)...
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The ability and desire to use utensils is one of the many things that set us, as human beings, apart from the animal kingdom. However, the slaves were completely deprived of opportunity to use utensils.
Douglass describes the competition that the children must face during “feeding time.” They eat fast; those who eat quickly, eat the most...
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