Essay title: The Institution of Slavery’s Corruption of the White Slaveholder
When Douglass moves to Baltimore, he becomes the property of Hugh Auld. There he is cared for by Hughâ€™s wife, Sophia. The readerâ€™s first impressions of Sophia are favorable; she is a warm, gentle woman who wishes to teach Douglass to read and write. Douglass himself is surprised at how kind she is at first, and he mentions that Sophia Auld has never owned slaves before, and therefore has not been affected by the evils of slavery. Douglass notes that she does not wish to punish him just to keep him subservient like his former masters did, and she does not beat him or even mind at all when Douglass looks her in the eyes. Sophia also teaches Douglass the alphabet and several words. However, her husband Hugh, who has already undergone the transformation that slavery causes, immediately orders her to stop when he hears of this.
Here, we see the contrast of two distinctly different people with regards to the institution of slavery. Sophia Auld is pure, innocent, untouched by the evils of slavery. Hugh Auld, on the other hand, has experience with the system of slavery and knows that in order to keep slaves obedient, they must also be kept ignorant and fearful. Douglass mentions how slaveholders who have owned slaves for long enough learn this fact, and must turn into cruel people or else risk losing the obedience of their slaves. Although Sophia has not experienced this at this point, she soon becomes corrupted by the power that comes with being a slave owner.
Douglass describes her transformation towards an inhuman person by portraying her as the victim. Douglass faults the system as a whole rather than the individual slaveholders, who he believes have no choice but to become corrupted by the immoral institution. Another example Douglass uses is one of his masters after he lives Hugh and Sophia Auld. Douglass becomes the property of Thomas Auld, the former husband of Captain Anthonyâ€™s daughter, Lucretia. Although Thomas does not undergo a transformation from kind to cruel, as Sophia did, Douglass still points out that his cruel and inconsistent treatment of his slaves is due to the fact that he was not born into the system of slavery.
Thomas acquired his slaves in his.