Research Paper: Is Murder a Better Alternative Than Slavery for Your Children?

Pages: 5 (1417 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Considering that most slaves struggled to act in accordance with what their masters wanted from them, it would be safe to say that these people fought for their lives. It is not that they appreciated the conditions they were living in, but they simply held on to their lives and learned to appreciate every little aspect that they could possibly relate to. "They seemed to think that the greatness of their masters was transferable to themselves. It was considered as being bad enough to be a slave; but to be a poor man's slave was deemed a disgrace indeed." (Douglass 2007, p. 35) Frederick Douglass' account of living as a slave further contributes to the idea that many slaves were especially reluctant to take death in exchange of life, regardless of the fact that the latter inflicted great pains on them.

Slaves can be considered to have made a choice in their lives in spite of the fact that they were not free. The fact that they were alive actually proves that they chose not to die -- they accepted servitude in spite of the pains coming along with it because they knew that the only option at that point was death. The slave practically fought death and directly emphasized his unwillingness to accept it. "He continues to exist at the level of natural being, that of the animal, which recoils in the face of death. But it is really because he has yielded to the effects of Nature, having lacked the strength necessary to turn himself into a man, that he will find himself better placed than the Master to accomplish within himself all the consequences of Mankind's possibilities." (Bataille 1998, p. 125)

Life as a slave certainly has its drawbacks, but when considering the struggle that most slaves went through simply in order to be alive, it would be safe to say that they should be praised for their determination. These people were well-aware that they were likely to be slaves for all of their lives and still focused on adopting attitudes that would make it possible for them to survive. In contrast to them, Sethe was acquainted with the fact that freedom was a significant option and that it was actually possible for her children to achieve freedom one day. Even with this, she chose to murder them without even giving them the chance to choose or the chance to escape to the free world one day.

In a philosophical discussion, one can consider being a slave as a concept related to accepting one's place in the world. Simply wanting to live without actually dreaming about freedom is proof that a person has become familiarized with the laws of the nature in the community that he or she belongs in and that he or she accepted them. "He has then become the Slave of the Master only because at first he became a slave of Nature, associating with it and subordinating himself to its laws through acceptance of the instinct of preservation." (Bataille 1998, p. 125)

The instinct of survival is one of the most important concepts that someone should consider when relating to slaves and to the difference between dying and being a slave. Hope dominates a slave's thinking, as even though (as previously mentioned) many slaves were aware that it was possible for them to never taste freedom, they were nonetheless willing to try life and to see what it would be like in spite of having to live as a slave. Many slave families struggled to stay together during the slavery era and some managed to do so. The fact that these people had each-other in difficult times enabled them to ameliorate the suffering coming along with living as a slave. Sethe's actions actually stand as proof with regard to the love that a slave could experience.

Works cited:

Bataille, Georges, "Georges Bataille: Essential Writings," (SAGE, 7 Aug 1998)

Douglass, Frederick, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by Himself," (Filiquarian Publishing, LLC., 2007)

Jacobs, Harriet Ann, "Incidents in the Life of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Is Murder a Better Alternative Than Slavery for Your Children?.  (2014, April 21).  Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/murder-better-alternative-slavery-children/8243034

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"Is Murder a Better Alternative Than Slavery for Your Children?."  Essaytown.com.  April 21, 2014.  Accessed April 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/murder-better-alternative-slavery-children/8243034.