The passage that struck out to me was on page 1194 when Douglass talks about the “mush” and how the children would come “like pigs” to devour the mush. He also mentions that “he who ate the fastest got the most” to show that the act of eating had been stripped from what we know today and was merely a race to eat as much as possible to survive. Eating for Douglass at that point in time was very different from what we consider eating now; we can take our time with eating our food and order for each person whereas he would have to fight his way to eat as much mush as he could otherwise he would starve to death.

It’s also an interesting passage because it seems like the slaver owners are almost “training” these children to react to this method of eating; putting food on the ground and calling them out reminds me of the Pavlov experiment of classical conditioning where the researchers were able to successfully train the dog to salivate after hearing the whistle since the whistle meant that food was coming (even if it actually wasn’t). I guess from an ethical perspective, I would be curious to know if these children realized what was going on or if they considered this normal because they were born into this situation and trained to react this way. It’s clear from this passage and how Douglass wrote this (using words like pigs and devour to describe the situation) that looking back, Douglass does realize how savage this act was but there’s no indication of what his actions were when it was happening to him. He also doesn’t talk much about how long this went on (from his early childhood until he left or just for a few years in his childhood) or any mentions of the slave parents and how they reacted to this.

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