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The Double Relation

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by

Terence Hartnett

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of The Double Relation

The "Double Relation":
Masters as Parents in
Two Slave Narratives Equilano Douglass "My father was a white man..." "My father was a white man. He was admitted to be such by all I ever heard speak of my parentage. The opinion was also whispered that my master was my father; but of the correctness of this opinion, I know nothing; the means of knowing was withheld from me." "I submitted..." “I looked for home elsewhere..." “I looked for home elsewhere, and was confident of finding none which I should relish less than the one which I was leaving.” Parenthood as a trope obedience
providing
expectation
punishment/reward loyalty
empathy
inherent value
teaching
"...with the affection of a son." "[Daniel Queen] was like a father to me; and some even used to call me after his name...indeed I almost loved him with the affection of a son." I not only felt quite easy with these new countrymen, but relished their society and manners. I no longer looked up at them as spirits, but as men superior to us; and therefore I had the stronger desire to resemble them. "...men superior to us." "While I was onboard the ship, my captain and master named me Gustavus Vasa. I at that time...refused to be called so and told him as well as I could that I would be called Jacob; but he said I should not, and still called me Gustavus; and when I refused to answer to my new name, which at first I did, it gained me many a cuff; so at length I submitted, and by which I have been known ever since." "Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me." "She at first lacked the depravity indispensable to shutting me up in mental darkness. It was at least necessary for her to have some training in the exercise of irresponsible power, to make her equal to the task of treating me as though I were a brute." ...cruel as the deed may strike any one to be, for a man to sell his own children to human flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of humanity for him to do so; for, unless he does this, he must not only whip them himself, but must stand by and see one white son tie up his brother, of but few shades darker complexion than himself, and ply the gory lash to his naked back; and if he lisp one word of disapproval, it is set down to his parental partiality, and only makes a bad matter worse, both for himself and the slave whom he would protect and defend. " ...for a man to sell his own
children to human flesh-mongers... "Indeed, it is not uncommon for slaves even to fall out and quarrel among themselves about the relative goodness of their masters, each contending for the superior goodness of his own over that of the others. At the very same time, they mutually execrate their masters when viewed separately...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!" -Frederick Douglass
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