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Frederick Douglass

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Autor:   •  January 8, 2017  •  Essay  •  505 Words (3 Pages)  •  296 Views

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Their Mournful Song

Music is an escape. It describes who we are and shows the emotions we feel. Slaves sing of the hurt and depression that taints their lives. Their words are filled with the sorrow that they keep concealed in their hearts. Music provides a safe place where they communicate in to spread folklore from their ancestors. Slaves live each day in misery; they wish for death, try to believe but are hardly ever sure what lies at the end of the road.

Enslaved by force, African Americans have faced prejudice and use their song to express their hurt souls. Slaves express their woe through song; in the excerpt from [Untitled Song] a slave expresses his strong need to escape his life of slavery. With personal limits being driven too far, a slave plans to escape by death when he “heard them say there were lions in the way, [he does not] expect to stay much longer here” (Source 3). Slave life is very difficult while people work through the situation, this slave was contemplating suicide. He sings of his pain and suffering that have left him with no other alternative than to kill himself to escape. With souls of distress, the enslaved used music as a place for believing in a better alternative than enslavement. Life as a slave gives little room for faith; the only thing to hold onto is belief of music that leaves a person knowing “the old man is waiting to carry you to freedom, if you follow the Drinking Gourd” (Source 2). Faith is a trait slaves are allowed to carry when sent to other farms and separated from the people they love. This song gives slaves hope of a person waiting to bring them to a better life. In the excerpt from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, slaves release their pain and suffering into carefully created music. With the heaviness of their hearts weighing them down, the enslaved people express their anguish with sweet melody “to drown [their] sorrow, but seldom to express [their] happiness” (Source 1). Misery and hunger pangs eat slaves each day, and they sing to hang onto a smooth rhythm to retain morale. They pour all emotions they collect into song to release the heavy weights they carry routinely. Slaves escape their lives with each word they desolately sing, hoping to be free.

We live difficultly, with obstacles in our way that we eventually overcome. Life is miserable for a slave, until they find a way to escape. Emotions that have been pent up have a way to release themselves from their cage. They keep tradition alive though they had been taken from their homes years before. Life is never ending; each day is more difficult than the others though we find our way through to the finish line no matter what.


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