” . . . and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.” This quote by Fredrick Douglass signifies the rebirth of his spirit that was broken from being a slave. As explained earlier in the text, slaveholders used a method to control their slaves that was utterly inhumane. The example given tells a story about how if a slave steals molasses, because he likes molasses, the slaveholder will force the slave to eat molasses until the slave becomes sick from eating so much it. This same system of manipulation is how the slaveholders controlled slaves from wanting freedom. This system broke a slaves spirit, broke Fredrick’s spirit. However the above quote shows Mr. Douglass’ awakening from this poisonous dream. This rebirth is symbolized throughout the text.
In chapter eleven Mr. Douglass is working for Mr Hugh. At the end of each week Mr. Douglass hands in the money that he has made and is then given a portion of it. Like the previous system it has a foundation on deception. It transforms the robber in to the saint and the worker into the slave, ” few cents would ease his conscience, and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable sort of robber.” This outraged Douglass and fueled his means for escape even more. This deception can be seen especially in the holidays of the south, or in a broader sense the religion of the south.
All in all, the state of mind of a slave is one that is dormant. A slaves will is shattered and his mind his broken. Douglass broke from this mental prison and left the South.
And Fredrick roared “The day had passed forever when I could be a slave…”
“I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are
with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself . . . . the latter I translate into a new
Whit has a lot of repeated motifs throughout the poem that he periodically brings up. A common one being God, heaven, and hell. What makes the above quote interesting is that fact that he jumps between accepting the idea of heaven and hell and complete rejection of it. In other parts of the poem he talks about the myth of heaven and the acceptance of God, but to a very vague definition. However, in other parts of the poem he explains that God is with him, God created him, God watched him. He has this intense fascination with God, but at the same time he believes that God is a word that is created by humans. God is seen as a protector and a watching almost whimsical, but God is an entity of which we should not spend time pondering about. I feel like Whitman, being in time in American history and where Christianity was much more prevalent than it is today, is stuck in between a hard place and a rock because the majority of people would call it sacrilege to talk about God, Heaven, or Hell as not worth our time, yet he does. (Granted things aren’t has fire and brimstone as the puritans). What is God? What is Heaven? What is Hell? Perhaps they are the just figments of our imagination or perhaps they are part of our cycle of life.
Another way to look at Whit’s usage of heaven continually throughout the poem, is through heaven being all the stars in our sky, instead of the home of angels and God. Heaven is the name for the night sky, and hell would be the pain that people feel. All in all Whitman touches upon a topic that is still debated to this day.
“Him nature solicits with all her placid, all her monitory pictures; him the past instructs; him the future invites.”
Him nature may solicit with all her placid pictures, but my understanding is far from placid. The first part to understanding it, is to connect Him to the Thinking Man (which is another name for the american scholar). Secondly, one would need to find out who or what her represents. In this case her, I think, is nature. that still does not answer Who does the thinking man instruct? Who does he invite? Does he want something from nature, or is it the opposite. Does she want something from him? This sentence is early in the text and to better understand it one should read the rest of the text. Because of that, look at this sentence as one that introduces the topics he is going to talk about. The american scholar’s fascination of nature and wanting to learn from nature, scholar history, and the american scholar’s future. Then again, him and her could be completely different than what I understood them as.
I’m Tyler, and I am a student at SFSU studying biology and I work at a Biochemistry lab in South San Francisco, but this wasn’t always the case. I grew up in San Diego and from the age of 6 decided that I would become a professional pianist. From then until high school I practiced daily for hours on end and had at one point four different teachers, but after visiting the SF Conservatory I realized that I didn’t want to become a professional pianist. Instead I decided I wanted to become a doctor- what a relief for my parents. While at the Conservatory I fell madly in love with the city of San Francisco. A love so deeply to the point that I sent a quick application to SFSU, got in, and have been here for two years, left my poor Padres and became an avid Giants fan. That’s about it.