Frederick Douglass narrative was born out of slavery in Maryland where he served as a slave on Maryland and Baltimore. His narrative emerged as a popular tradition for slaves and in this essay we will discuss one of the book’s major themes; unearned reward and its effects in society.
Douglass rebuked the unearned complacency of the U.S citizenry in the face of the evils that the government did, because entirely the oppressed and the oppressors are different groups and the situation also remains relevant today. This life story offers a glimpse of how Douglass was affected by the cruelty of slavery. His experience is not as tragic as those many other slaves, as he spent much of life as a house servant, but it reveals how cruel and injustice the system was (Pudaloff, J. Ross, Pg.502).
A slave society was one that was independent economically, socially and culturally upon chattel slavery. We know that economic and disciplinary imperatives attempt could restrict independent activities of the slaves, and hence attempts were to restrict the slaves since any wealth on them was perceived to lessen their owner’s control. The tradition erases diversity of some understandings of the relationship between property and person. The slaves were denied their rights since gaining economic fortune was seen as the means to achieve existential improvement (Pudaloff, J. Ross, Pg.502-515).
Douglass’s narrative shows how the white slaveholders perpetuated slavery and kept slaves ignorant of their basic facts. They prevented slaves from learning how to read and write as they felt that literacy could have given them a sense of capability. According to them, education ruins slaves. According to Douglass, knowledge if acquired by slaves only helps slaves to articulate their suffering rather than provide immediate freedom. But he cautions that once slaves are able to articulate their sufferings, they only come to loathe their masters but that education cannot help them to escape without great danger; as always whether learned or not (SparkNotes).
Thus according to Douglass, if a society is not accorded its due, it will rise against its perpetrators and turn against them bringing rebellion and causing distraught in the community. Eventually though, unearned reward will be earned by any means possible.