“Life Of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave”

894 words - 4 pages

The narrative essay of the “Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave” describes personal accounts Paul experienced as a slave. Cruel and unjust treatment done to him by his masters gave him to a strong desire to learn how to read and write in any possible way by being resourceful and be determined to learn. However, Douglas expressed “I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather a blessing” and “I envied my fellow slaves for their stupidity” (4); wherein he regrets learning and he also illustrated why he considered knowledge as a curse because he learned about freedom did not benefit him at all. In my case, I can also say I regret some things I learned in the past that I know would made me happier if I did not learned them at all.
At age twelve, Douglas became a slave in the household of Mr. Hugh. Mrs. Auld was very kind and considerate when Douglas met her, because it was the first time having a slave in the household. She even taught him the A B C’s but Mr. Auld forbade instructing him. However, in the later part of the story, she changes into a wicked mistress. Mr. Auld expressed “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world” (1) and this revelation was an eye opener of freedom awaits him. Mr. Auld tells his wife that if a slave was taught to read, it will cause Paul to be not satisfied and sad because he will yearn for freedom. Paul learned that learning to read is the key to his freedom. He was longing for freedom because he was treated badly. I am so impressed with the effort he put forth learning how to read and be a good writer. However, he regrets learning because he found out it was impossible for a slave to be freed by his/her masters. He believed knowledge is a curse which made him distressed and wish he was dead. He envied his fellow slaves for not knowing the idea of being free because it tormented him mentally trying to be free. His fellow slaves were content serving their masters and they had a peace of mind which Douglas could not have, especially when he read a book about slaves. This proves that knowledge is not beneficial for Douglas because he was hoping one day he could have a chance to enjoy the world and being a master of his own life made him feel the pain and anguish that it is...

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