The system of slavery had been present in the New World for many years and it left horrible consequences on people who managed to survive it. People needed to be extremely strong both physically and psychically to endure all the pain and pressure that white people put them through. White people could not accept that there existed people who were different from them and, because they were in majority, they gave themselves the right to abuse their power and to decide the fate and life of other people. Many great literary works have explored the issue of slavery, and every one of them is very realistic and disturbing. In his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) Frederick Douglass presents us with a brutal and remorseless picture of the life of African American slaves. He gives us a realistic picture which can shock or upset even the most insensitive of us. We can see how hard it was for the slaves to live the kind of life where you are not completely sure what you can or cannot do, and where you cannot know whether you are going to be sold or even survive to see the next day. In her novel Beloved (1987) Toni Morrison introduces a family consisting of a mother and a child who escaped slavery. We can see the life they live as free people, but it is not the one filled with happiness of their escape. We see that they are wrecked by the slavery and its aftermath and how they are divided between two identities, especially the mother who survived being a slave. She tries to leave painful memories behind her, thus depriving herself of a normal life in the present because she is unable to deal with her past life and actions. This paper attempts to demonstrate that people who survived slavery have endured an enormous amount of physical and psychic pain. They endured working as animals, whipping and even watching their friends or family being killed. All of that left a deep impact on them so that even when they became free, they could not live as normal people. They were constantly afraid, which sometimes made them do horrible acts that left them unable to live a normal and happy life. There were different types of people. Some, like Frederick Douglass, were decisive and knew what they really wanted and went for their goal. Although he had and a very difficult life, he did not give up and eventually he managed to escape and build a real and stable life. On the other side are people like Sethe, the protagonist of Morrison's novel, who were not strong enough to deal with their problems so that they allowed their problems to overpower them. For Sethe it was so hard to deal with the killing of her baby that she pushed the people who loved her away and allowed her guilt to take over. Luckily, she realized that with the help of the right people, people with similar experience, she could deal with her pain and her problems.