Colette LiMcConn P6AP English1/8/18True lives of the enslavedDuring the 1800s, many depictions of slavery were written by slave owners. They often sugar coated the treatment of slaves, and the pain that they experienced. However, in “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, an autobiography written by former slave Frederick Douglass, and “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, a narrative written by freed slave Harriet Ann Jacobs, the two authors accurately records the lives of slaves. Through their words, Although words can tell the stories of many, simple descriptions can not fully paint the horrors of slavery; therefore, Douglass and Jacobs use irony, imagery, and symbolism to fully portray their stories. Douglass and Jacobs use irony to show the hypocrisy of slave owners, and the mistreatment of slaves. One of Douglass’ many harsh masters was Mr. Gore. Outsiders often saw him as a “a man possessing, in an eminent degree, all those traits of character indispensable to what is called a first-rate overseer.” Mr. Gore was widely known as a man who was a strict overseer, and it was implied that many thought he was a good man who brought justice to slaves. Douglass questions the thought process of those who believe Mr. Gore can be a “first-rate” slave owner, without being an excessively cruel man. Douglass uses irony to emphasize Mr. Gore’s characteristics, and call for readers to put further thinking into if Mr. Gore was stern, or abusive towards slaves. The slaveholder Jacobs’ depicts, Mrs. Flint, is a similarly irrational slaveholder. Linda was ordered to run errands in deep snow, so her gracious grandmother replaced her old shoes, with more sturdy ones. Mrs. Flint immediately scolded her because the shoes’ “creaking grated harshly on her refined nerves.” She commanded her to “Take them off…and if you put them on again, I’ll throw them into the fire.” Linda pins Mrs. Flint’s irony of having “refined nerves” to minimal noises, yet being insensitive to the discomfort she constantly causes Linda. She believes Mrs. Flint has no empathy towards her, and would not feel “a twinge of remorse” if Linda had died. She uses irony to contrast Mrs. Flints’ absurd priorities, and moral ignorance. The treatment of slaves frequently involved extreme physical punishments. Both authors use imagery to show readers an accurate description of the mistreatment of slaves. Douglass describes the consequences of Aunt Hester, and how the Colonel Lloyd “laid on the heavy cow skin, and soon the warm, red blood(amid heart- rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor.” Douglass recalls an the beating of his Aunt Hester with vivid explanations of the whole scene. Douglass uses imagery to appeal to the readers emotions, and gain sympathy for the inhumane treatment of his aunt. Similarly to Douglass, Jacobs rarely describes the abuse that they went through. Jacobs tells readers about three different slave owners, the harshest being Mr. Litch. Jacobs illustrates one of his go to punishments where he would “tie a rope round a man’s body, and suspend him from the ground. A fire was kindled over him, from which was suspended a piece of fat pork… scalding drops of fat continually fell on the bare flesh.” Jacobs uses lucid depictions to allow readers to picture, and even smell the horrors of slavery. Both uses of imagery aims to expose the frightening experiences of slaves. The issue of slavery is an extremely serious topic that should not be taken lightly. Douglass and Jacobs included symbolisms of freedom to create meaning and emotions behind their stories. Douglass aligns freedom with literacy. After he overheard Mr. Auld say “if you teach that n***** how to read, there would be no keeping him,” Douglass discerned that once he learned how to read, freedom would be within his reach. Douglass invested a large portion of his youth in the search for literature. He experiences many setbacks that stopped him from learning how to read, and he relates that to how he kept getting pushed further into enslavement. Douglass uses symbolism to put meaning behind his goal of becoming literate. Jacobs has no clear path to legally free her from enslavement, but she seeks mental freedom with a “loophole of retreat.” She seemed shelter at her grandmothers attic, and “sit at the loophole to watch the passers by.” The loophole was a small opening in the wall, and she would use it as her connection to the outside world. Jacobs would feel relief, and comfort because this allowed her to watch her children from afar. By using symbolism, readers can assess Jacobs’ living conditions, and how such a small hole can alleviate so much stress from her life. The loophole made a rotting attic feel like a comfortable sanctuary. The two usages of symbolism aids the authors in linking everyday things, with a meaningful outcome.Douglass and Jacobs’ narratives speak of the barbarous treatment of slaves. They use irony, imagery, and symbolism to fully express their stories. These two books shed light onto the true experiences slaves underwent. Works Cited Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895. Narrative Of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston :Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. Print.Jacobs, Harriet A, Lydia M. Child, Jean F. Yellin, and John S. Jacobs. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.