Arriving at the Library, I thought finding information on slave narratives would be simple. I looked on one of the library catalog computers and searched for slave narratives. Come to find that very few books relevant came up. I went up to the librarian’s desk and said, “I need to find sources of slave narratives.” She was a big help. She immediately began to type and search and after the first couple of times, she had trouble and she tried different ways of searching. She also found useful articles on the Library’s website. After grabbing more books than I can carry, I checked the books out and drove home. I immediately looked through the books of the slave narratives and I found similar characteristics in all that I had. There are many characteristics of slave narratives but the ones that are the most obvious are the abuse, escape and religion.
The first characteristic that I noticed was the abuse. It is amazing; depending on the slave narrative, abuse came in many forms. One of those forms was whipping, the most common form of abuse. Many slaves were whipped simply to show conformity or for doing something wrong. The famous Fredrick Douglass “described his early childhood memory of seeing his Aunt Hester stripped by her master and tied to a joist, where she was lashed until the cow skin whip became clotted with blood,” (Stripe). Another example of whipping was from Jacob D. Green’s narratives about an incident with the master’s son’s pistol. “My master’s son had taken one of his pistols out, and by some accident it burst when master tied me up by my thumbs and gave me 60 lashes, and also made me confess the crime before he would release me,” (Library of Black American 691). Another form was verbal abuse; the masters would swear at the slaves and call them nasty names. John Brown relates to verbal abuse in his narrative, “He (his master) began to swear at me dreadfully, and to threaten me,” (Library of Black America).