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Fredrick Douglass: Chapter 11

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Matthew Wilder

on 13 October 2015

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Transcript of Fredrick Douglass: Chapter 11

Background Knowledge
Douglass meets William Lloyd Garrison who became the leading early abolitionist publisher. Through the Liborator, Douglass becomes widely known throughout the nation, along with other abolitionists and early feminists.
Argument in this chapter
Douglass is amazed by the prosperity the north has achieved without slaves.
How this argument supports the whole
This argument connects with the whole because first it supports and promotes the ignorance of the North's awareness and their acknowledgment on slavery especially slavery in the South. Second it shows the less to no dependency of slaves in the North. If the North flourished without slaves so can the South, they would just have to find a different way to sustain themselves financially.
Significant Quote
First, were I to give a minute statement of all the facts, it is not only possible, but quite probable, that others would thereby be involved in the most embarrassing difficulties. Secondly, such a statement would most undoubtedly induce greater vigilance on the part of slaveholders than has existed heretofore among them; which would, of course, be the means of guarding a door whereby some dear brother bondman might escape his
galling chains
.
No boring Questions just a discussion
Rhetorical Devices
Douglass also expresses his frustration with the very public way in which the underground railroad—a network of people who aid escaping slaves—operates. While he appreciates the bravery of those who run the underground railroad, he thinks their indiscretion makes it much more difficult for slaves to escape bondage. Douglass recommends keeping the slaveholder ignorant of the means by which slaves escape, so that the oppressors will torment themselves with all sorts of imaginary threats.
Fredrick Douglass: Chapter 11
By: Matthew,Allison, Henry, & Namita

Here Douglass is saying that he will not name names in this book or go into great detail regarding his escape because of the implications it would cause others.
The people who helped him could get in trouble and those who hurt him could prevent other slaves from escaping if they knew what was going on. The fact that Douglass can see past his hatred for his slave owners and take into consideration what would happen to his fellow slaves shows his true colors. If he had named his slave owners they could have been held accountable to the terrible treatment he endured, especially later when slavery was illegal. But instead of pursuing his own agenda and anger he set it aside and omitted it for the sake of other slaves
.
It is important that slave owners during this time did not know how slaves were escaping because they would have put a stop to it immediately. He even goes on to say he does wish he could implicate them, to not only satisfy the minds of the reader, but also because he would find it extremely pleasing. I believe he says this to let the reader know he has not forgiven his captors, he just understand the bigger picture when it comes to freeing other slaves. This also goes along with the credibility of the narrative. If he had named his owners and those who beat him and tortured him then most people would have thought his story was untrue and too many bad things happened to him, or that someone else made it up to gain income and fame. This way there is a little secrecy that leaves readers wondering who it was.
Frederick successfully escapes from slavery using a sailor's ''protection papers'' He arrives in New York City and to avoid recapture, changes his name to Frederick Johnson . Anna Murray joins him in New york and they marry. They move to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Frederick again changes his name, this time to Frederick Douglass, after a character in The Lady Of The Lake, a historical poem by Sir Walter Scott
In New Bedford Douglass works as a day laborer and begins speaking at abolitionist meetings.
This is one of the only sections of the novel where Douglass does not attempt to fully recount the truth, and he only withholds this information because the truth would threaten people he cares about. In explicitly acknowledging that he is not giving the whole truth, he both frees himself from others charging him of not telling the full truth and also shows how slavery makes it impossible for slaves to be truthful about everything because to be truthful can lead to death
By proposing to keep the underground railroad secret, Douglass uses the slaveholders’ oppressive techniques against them: he seeks to keep slaveholders unenlightened to exploit their vulnerability, just as slaveholders try to keep their slaves as ignorant as possible.
Irony
More Significant Quotes
In 1838, Douglass grew dissatisfied with forfeiting all of his earnings to Master Hugh. Sometimes, Hugh would let Douglass keep a tiny fraction of his pay, which only affirmed to Douglass that he had a right to keep all of it.
Meaning of the Quote
Douglass’s burgeoning knowledge of free life only makes his enslavement harder to bear—keeping some of his earnings only sharpens the pain of forfeiting the majority.
Full transcript