Essay on Agency in the Presence of Bondage

1747 Words May 25th, 2013 7 Pages
When individuals are denied the right to reap the benefits of freedom it is expected from them to ask why they are denied such a right. It would then be expected for those in bondage to strive to attain their desired freedom. As seen in Douglass’s slave narrative and Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, the deprivation of their freedom lead them to exceed racial and gender boundaries in order to struggle for power that was denied to them by their environment and cultural expectations. Wherever an individual may be, their surrounding environment serves as a constant reminder of their status or role in society. Frederick Douglass was born a slave in the state of Maryland. Being a slave state, Maryland served as a constant reminder to …show more content…
In captivity, Rowlandson was away from her husband therefore her ultimate goal was to get back to her husband, which she believed would happen by placing her faith in Devine Providence. Unlike Douglass, Rowlandson was very patient in allowing God’s plan to take its course. Perhaps the fact that she was not born into slavery like Douglass and the fact that she did have a family allowed her to believe that God would bless her once again. At times Douglass found it difficult to believe a righteous God existed. “When I think that these precious souls are to-day shut up in the prison-house of slavery, my feelings overcome me and I am almost ready to ask, does a righteous God govern the universe” (Cain 1069). An individual’s surroundings can also lead to various power struggles. During his life, Frederick Douglass endured numerous situations related to power. One of the first being the feeling of powerlessness. Early in his life, he remembered being awakened by the screams of pain that came from his aunt when she was savagely whipped by her master. When he had the misfortune of observing one such whipping, it caused Douglass to realize the brutality and inhumanity involved with slavery. Douglass was also able to realize that slaveholders wanted to keep their slaves incompetent in order to keep them content and maintain their racial supremacy. As Douglass matured, learned to read and write, and became

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