I believe this scene was notable for me because of the shock I experienced when I read it. I had to re-read these pages to make sure I understood what was on the paper. Never in my life have I witnessed a family member being beaten. Yes, I have seen the occasional spanking as punishment for bad behavior, but I cannot imagine witnessing what Frederick Douglass did that day.
Many folks shared Arné’s sense of shock. Students in Professor Jessica DeSpain’s literature course, for example, read Douglass’s Narrative and provided one word responses to the scene that revealed they also found the beating disturbing. When we gathered their responses and reproduced them using a word cloud, we also begin to see various other ideas coming into view regarding the scene as well.
animals authority beating brutally crude degrading dehumanizing depraved diabolical digusting disgusted embarrassed frightening grotesque gruesome hard hatred heart-rending helplessness horrendous horrible horrific horror human hurt image imagery inhuman insecure intense male malevolence man morbid nature pleasure possessiveness power primal psychotic punishing pure recoil remains sad saddened shock sickens slave speechless stick stomach sympathy true turned unbearable violence visual vivid voyeurism voyeuristic watch whipping
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