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My Bondage and My Freedom

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Kate Doherty

on 1 October 2014

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Transcript of My Bondage and My Freedom

My Bondage and My Freedom
Additional Characters
Plot
My Bondage and My Freedom
revises
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
and describes the events in greater detail. The only thing that is different is the last four chapters of the book. The last four chapters contain information on Fredrick and what his life was like after he had become a free man. These events include:

Douglass' marriage to Anna Murray
Move to New Bedford, Massachusetts
Renaming (from Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey to Frederick Douglass)
First encounter with "the mind of William Lloyd Garrison".
Douglass' involvement with the American Anti-Slavery Society
Original impetus to write down his story.
Douglass' tumultuous Atlantic crossing on a ship full of slave-owners
Exploits as a traveling lecturer in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
The "many dear friends" abroad who collaborate to purchase Douglass' freedom from Thomas Auld in 1846.
Douglass' plan to start a newspaper after returning to the United States.
Determined to circulate his newspaper from a neutral location, Douglass begins printing The North Star in December 1847 and moves his family to Rochester, New York, in 1848.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Characters
Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass is the narrator and the protagonist in his novel. Throughout the novel, Douglass describes his early life as a slave up until he is an educated and astute young man. He begins the novel when he was a boy, born into slavery where he lives on Colonel Lloyd's plantation. Here he witnesses the cruelty and violence of the Masters and starts to create his opinion on slavery. Although it is an autobiography, Douglass writes of incidents involving the severe punishment of other slaves. He is taught the alphabet by Sophia Auld, his owner's wife, until she is scolded by her husband for teaching Douglass since keeping slaves in ignorance is key to keeping them enslaved. One of the major changes in Douglass is his awareness and knowledge of slavery. As he continues to educate himself, the more determined he is to escape and end slavery for everyone.

Plot
Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, in Talbot county, Maryland.
He was born into slavery.
Like many slaves, he was unsure of his exact birth date. The slaves relate their birth date to times of the year like planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall time.
Douglass was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, shortly after he was born. She came to see him on few occasions during the night.
His father was a white man. There were whispers that his father was his Master, Captain Anthony.
Captain Anthony was the clerk of a rich man named Colonel Lloyd.
Colonel Lloyd owned 300-400 slaves on his home plantation, and owned a large number more on the neighboring farms belonging to him. The names of the farms nearest to the home plantation were "Wye Town" and "New Design".
The slaves were overworked and exhausted, received little food, few articles of clothing, and no beds.
Those who broke the rules, and even those who didn't, were beaten, whipped, and sometimes even shot by the plantation overseers, Mr. Severe and Mr. Austin Gore.
Frederick witnessed his Aunt Hester beaten by Captain Anthony
As a child, Douglass, served in the household instead of in the fields.
At the age of 7, he was given to Captain Anthony's son-in-law's brother, Hugh Auld, who lived in Baltimore.
Sophia Auld, Hugh's wife, was kind to Frederick. She even began to teach him how to read, until her husband ordered her to stop.
Themes, Symbols, and Motifs
Sophia Auld
Frederick Douglass
Captain Anthony
Colonel Edward Lloyd
Lucretia Auld
Captain Thomas Auld
Hugh Auld
Sophia Auld
Edward Covey
Betsy Bailey
Aunt Hester

Harriet Bailey
Sandy Jenkins
William Freeland
William Hamilton
William Gardner
Anna Murray
Nathan Johnson
William Lloyd Garrison
Wendell Phillips

Edward Covey
Themes
Through his novel, Douglass illustrates how slaveholders aim to keep slaves ignorant so they remain acquiescent so they don't get ideas about escaping. Slaveholders keep basic facts, such as birth dates or who their parents are, from the slaves. By doing this they take away any individuality and dehumanize the slaves, giving them the same value as livestock. Slaveholders don't allow slaves to learn to read or write, ensuring that they won't ever become self-sufficient or try to document the way slaves were treated.
Motifs
Freedom in the City: Douglass is sent to the city and feels more free than when he was living in a rural area because slaves are partially free in Baltimore. This is ironic since one would tend to feel more freedom when living in the wide open space rather than the closer living space of a city.
Symbols
The White-sailed Ships: To Douglass, these ships symbolize freedom. As he watches them sail by on the Chesapeake Bay, they remind him of his enslavement.

The Colombian Orator: This collection of essays that Douglass discovers shortly after he learns to read helps him come to realize why slavery is wrong. It inspires him to devote his life to the abolition of slavery.
Plot Cont.

Sophia succumbs to the mentality of slave owning and loses her natural kindness.
Sophia and Hugh Auld become crueler toward Frederick.
Frederick taught himself how to read with the help of the local boys. As he learned to read and write, he became conscious of the evils of slavery.
Douglass was taken to serve Thomas Auld, Captain Anthony's son-in-law, after the death of Captain Anthony.
Auld considered Douglass unmanageable, so he rented him for one year to Edward Covey, a man known for "breaking slaves".
Covey managed to work and whip the spirit out of Douglass within the first 6 months. Frederick became a brutish man, no longer interested in reading or freedom.
The turning point came when Douglass resolved to fight back against Covey.
Douglass was next rented to William Freedland for 2 years.
At Freedland's, Douglass educated his fellow slaves in a Sabbath school at the homes of free blacks. Many slaves from neighboring farms came to him despite the consequences.
Douglass formed a plan to escape with three fellow slaves he was close with, but was betrayed and taken to jail with other slaves.
Thomas Auld sent Douglass back to Baltimore with Hugh Auld to learn the trade of ship caulking.
After working in Baltimore's trade industry, Douglass received permission to hire out his extra time.
Frederick eventually made his escape to New York.
Soon after, he married Anna Murray, a free woman he met while in Baltimore. They moved to Massachusetts where Douglass became deeply engaged with the abolitionist movement as both a writer and an orator.
Sophia Auld is one of the few characters who undergoes a change. Like Douglass, this change is internal. When Douglass first arrives to live with them, she is kind and friendly. She even teaches him the alphabet. Her husband notices the way she treats Douglass and tells her how a slave owner should act, turning her into a cruel and harsh owner. This change in Sophia represents the effects that slavery has even on a slave owner. The fact that a loving mother figure could be turned into a heartless character shows how slavery has corrupted society.
Edward Covey could be viewed as the antagonist because he is Douglass' worst Master. Covey is cruel both physically and psychologically towards his slaves. Unlike other characters who have turned cruel due to the effects of being slave owners, Covey is naturally cruel. He is referred to as "the snake" because of the way he creeps around the fields, hoping to find the slaves resting instead of working just so he can have a reason to punish them. His comparison to a snake could also be comparing him to the devil as a snake is a symbol of Satan. Douglass' fight with Covey indicates a change in which Douglass emerges as confident and brave and Covey is left
Kate Doherty, Elyse Fulkerson, Hannah Reese, Rachel Riccobono
Ignorance
Knowledge
Douglass often discusses how his education led him to his freedom. If he had not learned to read and write, he wouldn't have developed such a strong passion to escape slavery. Douglass describes that although knowledge is an important step towards freedom, it does not grant it instantly. Knowledge simply instills the passion and desire for change.
The Effects of Slavery on Slaveholders
The effects of slavery are not only destructive to the slaves, but also the slaveholders. They are morally affected as they are corrupted by the power they have over the slaves. Sophia Auld is the best example of this. The slave holding power goes to her head and converts her into an evil owner like the rest. Douglass describes what effects slave holding has on all his Masters, showing that slavery needs to be abolished for the good of the slaves as well as their owners.
by Frederick Douglass
by Frederick Douglass
"The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege."
"The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work. 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."
"Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read. The very decided manner with which he spoke, and strove to impress his wife with the evil consequences of giving me instruction, served to convince me that he was deeply sensible of the truths he was uttering. It gave me the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence on the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read."
William Lloyd Garrison - A leading abolitionist in the north, and Douglass' patron.
Wendell Phillips - Another leading figure in the abolitionist movement. The Phillips-Douglass alliance was in direct opposition to Garrison and his supporters.
William Dixon
Tolly Allender
Mr. Price
Mr. Ruggles
Mrs. Mitchell
James N. Buffum
Reverend Henry Jackson
Reverend James W.C. Pennington
Nathan Johnson
Uncle Lucas Debuty
Mr. Bonney
William C. Coffin
John A. Collins
George Foster
George Thompson
George William Alexander
Background Information
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir written by Frederick Douglass, a former slave.
Frederick Douglass takes us on a journey through his life through his writing.
The book was published in 1845 by Dover Publications, Inc.
This book was published during the Romantic Period.
Within the first four months that the book was published, 5,000 copies were sold.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is held to be the most famous of numerous narratives written by former slaves in this time period.
It is also considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century.
Douglass' main reason for publishing his narrative was to offset the demeaning manner in which white people viewed him. His white abolitionists limited what he could say on the platform.
After the narrative was published, he was given the liberty to do more ambitious work.
Background Information
Ten years after publishing Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom was published in 1855.
This book was also published in the Romantic Period.
My Bondage and My Freedom is another autobiography by Frederick Douglass.
My Bondage and My Freedom is the second out of three autobiographies written by Douglass.
The book is mainly an expansion of Douglass' first narrative, discussing in greater depth his transition from bondage to liberty.
My Bondage and My Freedom is a deep meditation on the meaning of slavery, race, and freedom.
The 1855 text includes Douglass' original Appendix, composed of excerpts from the author's speeches as well as a letter he wrote to his former master.
Full transcript