Frederick Douglas Essay

1092 words - 4 pages

Frederick Douglas In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, he describes his life as a slave and his constant search for freedom. The theme of the narrative is that with determination and hard work, any man can accomplish even the impossible. Because he understood the key to freedom was knowledge, Frederick concentrated his efforts on education, finding creative ways to learn to read and write. The setting of the book mostly took place in the Northeastern part of the United States, and each place he was sent had an important impact on his life as a slave and his desire to be free.In 1835, Frederick Douglas was born a slave in Tuckhoe, near Hillsborough in Talbot County, Maryland, which is on the border of Miles River. His mother was Harriet Bailey, the daughter of Isaac and Betsey Bailey. His father was a white man, and it was said that his father was his master. On the plantation where he was raised for seven years, the major cash crops were tobacco, corn and wheat. It was here that he first encountered the harsh reality of slave life, when he watched his own aunt whipped until bloodied. She was whipped by Mr. Severe, who was the overseer of the slaves on the plantation. The master?s family consisted of two sons, Andrew and Richard, one daughter, Lucretia, and her husband, Captain Thomas Auld, with the father, Captain Anthony at the head of the family.When he was seven years old, he was sent to live with Captain Thomas Auld?s cousin, Mr. Hugh Auld in Baltimore. There he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Auld and their son Thomas. This was a completely different setting than on the plantation. Upon his arrival he was greeted with smiles and kindly emotions for the first time in his life. This setting was a key turning point in his life, for it was here that he realized that the key to his freedom was knowledge. Mrs. Auld began teaching him the ABC?s until Mr. Auld found out and scolded her for teaching Frederick, and told her it was dangerous because, ?if you give a nigger an inch, he?ll take an ell?. I believe that Mr. Auld was right in that no good can come of teaching a slave if he is to be a slave for life, because he would only be more miserable wanting an unattainable lifestyle of freedom. Mr. Auld?s opposition only served to strengthen Frederick?s desire to learn to read and write. He used many creative techniques to gain knowledge. He used to carry bread with him on his errands to trade it with the poor white children for a lesson in reading and writing. In doing this he felt that he was trading his bread ?for the more valuable bread of knowledge.? By the end of his stay there he had succeeded in learning to read and write.In 1833, Frederick was sent to live with Mr. Covey, named the snake by the slaves, who was the toughest slave breaker around. The first six months of his stay with Mr. Covey was the hardest. Mr. Covey worked...

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