Narrative Of Frederick Douglass Essay

2102 words - 9 pages

Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland; not sure of his age; does not know who his father is or much about his mother. Separation between children and parents was common among slaves and part of the Master’s plan to keep them in the dark about their identity. He lived on Colonel Edward Lloyd’s Plantation and Mr. Lloyd was Douglass first owner. Capitan Anthony, worked as Lloyd’s overseer; also suspected to be Douglass father, another common situation between slaves and owners. Anthony was cruel and took pleasure in whipping slaves, especially Douglass’s aunt Hester. His narrative style goes back and forth from protagonist-to-distant narrator, this way he can analyze and rationalize settings about slavery and freedom. At seven years of age, he was sent to work for Hugh Auld in Baltimore. He felt important among the other slaves, he was the “chosen one”. He felt so excited, he was looked forward to life outside the plantation, the closest to life as a freeman. He arrives in Baltimore to care for Sophia Auld’s child. Douglass states she is sweet, and willing to help him with studying. She teaches him to read. But soon before she can make progress her husband forbids her to continue. He explains that a slave with knowledge is dangerous, he will no longer obey his Master; and that this knowledge will make the slave unfit and unhappy; “if you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell”. This is the turning point in Douglass’s life. He know understands why it is so important for their Masters to keep the slaves in the dark of knowledge, in the absence of identity and in isolation from any type of life. Keeping them in the dark will make him ignorant and unwilling to question why or how he does not have the same rights to live free. Douglass makes his mission to learn how to read. He takes newspapers, asks boys in the city and tricks them into teaching him. Over the next seven years he learns how to read and write. His knowledge becomes a curse in his life. So many thoughts and reasoning and nothing to do with them, torments him for years. At the age of fifteen he is back working at Lloyd’s plantation under Thomas Auld. Douglass is a changed man, still a slave in the eyes of the rest but a free man at heart. He finds difficult to follow orders; Capitan Auld sends him with Edward Covey’s. Covey is famous for “breaking” slaves and shape them up. The first six months with Covey are extremely difficult, and the second six even more. He survives Covey’s tyranny, but finds his soul broken. During this year Douglass is brutally beaten, he runs away, he is brought back. He confronts Covey and engages in a physical fight. Douglass finds work with a neighbor landowner, Mr. Freeland. Surviving life next to Mr. Covey has given Douglass the last push in search for freedom. Douglass says after his fight with Covey: “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man”. He never gives details of his escape; however he does...

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