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The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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steve shi

on 18 March 2011

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Transcript of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

The Narrative
of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Steve Shi Student Choice Project Chapters 1-4
chapters 8-9 quotes chapter 1 important points
-All slaves were ignorant of their age and parents
-Children were seperated from their mothers to prevent affection
-Frederick Douglass's father was a white man
-The children were unaware of the brutalities happening on the plantation
-All of the master's slave children were eventually sold to prevent conflicting views with the white wife
-Slaves were commonly brutally beaten for any offense page 1, "By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs"

page 4, "No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose Chapter 2 Important Points -Douglass's master's family consisted of two sons, Andrew and Richard, one daughter, Lucretia, and her husband, Captain Thomas Auld
-All major transactions go through the Colonel's home plantation, including the slave's rations
-A slave is given an "allowance" at the beginning of the year, consisting of minimal food and one pair of clothes for the entire year
-The overseer for the slaves was at first Mr. Sever, a man who beat without purpose and lived up to his name. However, he was soon replaced by Mr. Hopkins
-The Great House Farm was a great privilege for a slave to work in. It was, to them, the upper class of their kind
-A slave singing is often misinterpreted as singing for joy, when it is actually a reflection on the hardships that they live for. It is an action filled with sorrow and anguish. Quotes page 6, "Children from seven to ten years old, of both sexes, almost naked, might be seen at all seasons of the year."

page 9, "The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears." Chapter 4 Important Points -Mr. Austin Gore replaces Mr. Hopkins as overseer , as somebody more severe to the preferences of Lloyd
-Gore refused the slaves the smallest opportunity to accuse him of anything
-A slave named Demby was shot and killed after refusing to come out of the creek that he was hiding in
-Slaves were believed to spread disobediance if they were allowed to get away with their wrongs
-Killing a slave was not considered a criminal offense
-The purpose of this chapter was to emphasize the desregard for the slave's life, through various brutal stories. Quotes page 13, "It is better that a dozen slaves suffer under the lash than that the overseer should be convicted of fault.

page 15, "it was worth a half-cent to kill a 'nigger,' and a half-cent to bury one." Chapter 5 Important Points -Children were excused from working because of their lacking in strength.
-The winter brought great suffering to all the slaves on the farm.
-It was a “survival of the fittest” event when slaves fought to get more corn meal than others.
-Douglass was selected to go to Baltimore to live with Hugh Auld, his master’s son-in-law’s brother.
-In response to the news, Douglass went to get wash at the creek to remove the dirt from his plantation life.
-Douglass feels no sorrow leaving the plantation, for he had no friends there.
-His new family radiates kindness, from his master Thomas to his mistress Sophia Auld.
Quotes page 19,
"From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise." Chapter 6 Important Points Quotes -Douglass is astounded at the amazing kindness and patience that Mrs. Auld shows toward him. However, she soon turns into the cruel demon typical of a slaveholder.
-Mrs. Auld had attempted to teach Frederick Douglass to read and write, only to be discouraged by Mr. Auld, claiming teaching a slave to write would do nothing but trouble him.
-In the city, the better you treat your slaves, the better others view you. This is the opposite of the North. However, there were still masters in Baltimore that whipped their slaves at every given chance.
-What whites wished slaves were to be ignorant of was what a slave needed most. page 19, "That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon.""

page 20, “What he most dreaded, that I most desired. What he most loved, that I most hated. That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good, to be diligently sought." Chapter 3 Important Points -Slaves were prohibited from enjoying many of the small luxuries of the farm, including a visit to the flower garden, and
many systems were employed to prevent any trespassing. Among these included the affective tar method.
-The slaves were subjected to impossible tasks, including young and old Barney's job of being the caretake of the master's horse. They were whipped according to the horse's physical appearance, regardless of their involvement.
-Colonel Lloyd''s farm was so vast that many of his slaves did not recognize him, and he recognized them much less. This is a reason slaves always answered positively when questioned about their masters.
-Ironically, the slaves believed that the rank of their masters defined them. Despite their sufferings, they vigorously defended their master when another slave accused him. Quotes page 11. "to describe the riches of Captain Lloyd would be almost equal to describing the riches of Job."

page 12, "It was considered as being bad enough to be a slave; but to be a poor man's slave was deemed a disgrace indeed!"
chapters 5-7 Chapter 7 Important Points -Mrs. Auld not only stopped teaching Douglass, she became even more vicious than her husband at stopping his flow of knowledge.
-Douglass develops a system in which he tricks other children into teaching him.
-Frederick studies at every possible opportunity.
-At age 12, Douglass reads the “Columbian Orator”, which confirms and explores deeper his belief of how and why white men were depriving slaves of information.
-Getting inspiration from two Irishmen, he resolves to run away to the North where he will find freedom.
-After many years of hard practice, Douglass finally learns how to write. Quotes page 22, "She was an apt woman; and a little experience soon demonstrated, to her staisfaction, that education and slavery were incompatible with each other

page 24-25, “I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead; and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should have killed myself, or done something for which I should have been killed.” quotes chapter 8 important points
-After Douglass's owner and master passed away, he is sent back to Talbot as property to be divided.
-Knowing what it is like to be free, Douglass is extremely greatful when he is not divided into the cruel Master Andrew's property, who had days before promised to beat him.
-Douglass is extremely angered by the cruel treatment of his grandmother, who after serving the family a lifetime, is left in a cottage to rot.
-His Master Thomas and his brother Hugh have a disagreement, resulting in his being moved to St. Micheal's
-At the end of the chapter, his determination to run away is revived. page 27, "A single word from the white men was enough--against all our wishes, prayers, and entreaties--to sunder forever the dearest friends, dearest kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings.”

page 29, “The hearth is desolate. The children, the unconscious children, who once sang and danced in her presence, are gone. She gropes her way, in the darkness of age, for a drink of water. Instead of the voices of her children, she hears by day the moans of the dove, and by night the screams of the hideous owl. All is gloom. The grave is at the door.” Chapter 9 Important Points -Douglass is sent back to Master Thomas, and finds that he is still the same cruel man from 7 years ago.
-After living a life of luxury, it is painful to feel hunger again. Douglass is forced to steal from his neighbors in order to survive with enough to eat.
-Master Thomas is a very inexperienced slaveholder, being mean, cowardly and insecure.
-After Master Thomas is introduced to religion, it does not do anything except for serve as a tool to justify his cruelty. Douglass finds that many other pastors and religion leaders act this fault as well.
-While Thomas becomes a preacher and leader in reading the Bible, his slaves are no better off.
-Mr. Wilson sets up a religious school to instruct slaves on the New Testament, only to be closed off by fellow ministers and churches.
-In order to get Douglass to comply with his orders, Thomas sends him to a slavebreaker for a year. Douglass is relieved of the starvation gnawing on this stomache. Quotes page 31, "I do not know of one single noble act ever performed by him."

page 33, "I have seen him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cowskin upon her naked shoulders, causing the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture--"He that knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes." Chapter 10 Important Points -Within a week of living with Mr. Covey, Douglass gets a severe whipping for being careless while driving cattle. After this point, he is beaten regularly for the next six months.
-Mr. Covey, working hard himself, knew the limits of humans. He did not overwork them, and used this to his advantage to get a slave working.
-Mr. Covey was famous for being able to deceive the slaves, popping out of any bush to see if they were fooling around. For this reason, the slaves could not stop working for even one second.
-Douglass is broken after 6 months, but manages to talk himself into striving toward freedom. One day, he was working when he suddenly collapsed. Running away from the man that was whipping him, Douglass found a slave in the cornfields that gave him a root that was supposed to prevent him from harm. Later, when Mr. Covey attempts to beat him, Douglass fights back and eventually wins over Mr. Covey.
-Douglass suspects Mr. Covey did not tell others of this struggle because it would ruin his reputation as being a “nigger breaker”. From then on, Mr. Covey did not beat him.
-During the holiday season, the slaveholders do their best to trick their slaves into becoming drunk, as to convince them of the negative side of freedom. Doing this convinces them that being a slave is actually much better.
-After leaving Mr. Covey, Douglass is sent to Mr. Freeland, a kind, respectable slaveholder that is reasonable. He spends an entire year without getting hit.
-Douglass believes that religious slaveholders are the worst, because they often use religion as an excuse for their cruel actions on their slaves.
-During the time at Mr. Freeland’s, Douglass manages to educate numerous slaves how to read the Bible. This number grew to over 40 eager slaves that wished to become better educated.
-Douglass is determined to attempt to escape the second year, by taking a boat up Chesapeake Bay during Easter holidays. However, before the day of the escape, they are betrayed and round up. Douglass is blamed for putting “education” into the minds of the other slaves and corrupting them with evil ideas.
-After being set in jail, his old master Hugh Auld comes and picks him up. There, he learns how to be a caulker. While at work, he gets in a fight with several white people, and gets severely beaten. However, there is no law protecting the black people.
-All of the money that Douglass later earned, an astonishing 9 dollars a week, is directly pocketed by Master Hugh. During this one year, Douglass once again thinks about a possible path to freedom.
read Conclusion The autobiography that Frederick Douglass has written is a superb display of the wisdom and writing technique that he has built up through many painstaking years of hard work. This book offers graphic details and moving speeches that does nothing less than captivate the audiences’ attention toward the cruel, cold-hearted practice known slavery. Each master is described in such detail that you can imagine their bony hands gripping the whip, ready to slash it across your back. This first-hand experience would later prove instrumental in the abolitionist cause to rid the country of slavery. PS: The reason I skipped chapter 11 is not because I am lazy, but because it would not substantially help my argument nor any of the objectives that you listed.
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