Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

17. Christmas was an unusual time on the plantation. How so? What was the intent of master to the slave?

Frederick Douglass

Narratives of a Slave

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When Christmas comes, Douglass has a holiday. All the slaves get the six days between Christmas and New Year's day off from work, and Douglass says that if the slave masters ever took this vacation away, there would be a slave rebellion.

The masters encourage their slaves to spend their Christmas vacation drinking and partying. The idea is that the slaves will drink so much (and get so hung over) that they will be glad to see the holiday end. In other words, if the masters can make the slaves disgusted with their own freedom, they won't want to be free any more.