FREDERICK DOUGLASS, NARRATIVE from chapter 1 to chapter 6 - Book Report/Review Example

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He goes ahead to say that he did not know more about himself, as a slave, besides where he was born. Frederick only knew his mother, who was also a slave, when he was young and…
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FREDERICK DOUGLASS, NARRATIVE from chapter 1 to chapter 6
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A SUMMARY OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS NARRATIVE November 13, In chapter one, Frederick begins by saying that he was born in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Maryland. He goes ahead to say that he did not know more about himself, as a slave, besides where he was born. Frederick only knew his mother, who was also a slave, when he was young and only for a short time. Frederick narrates that his master could be his father. Frederick does not know any of his siblings and relatives except his aunt Hester. He narrates how he witnessed sheer cruelty being unleashed on Hester by his old master for the offence of being in the company of a young man, Ned Roberts.
Frederick begins chapter two by describing his first master’s family and gives a description of life for the two years he spent as a slave in Captain Anthony’s firm. He narrates how slaves were denied basic human rights and describes the deplorable conditions they lived in. According to Douglass, some slaves who demonstrated trustworthiness and commitment were given slightly better jobs and slightly better living conditions and allowances. Frederick describes the barbarity and cruelty shown by some of these slaves, called overseers, to other slaves. Towards the end of chapter two Douglass describes mixed feelings and reactions that engulfed the plantations on payday. Slaves sang to console themselves and drown the unhappiness that existed deep within their hearts.
In chapter three, Frederick narrates his master’s cruelty to the slaves over small mistakes or lack of them. He begins by describing Colonel Lloyd’s riches and how they earned the slaves inhumane treatment. Methods used by the master to maintain control of his large number of slaves, such as use of tar and spies, created fear among the slave. Examples are the two slaves, old Barney and his son, who were responsible for the master’s horses, lived in fear as they did not know which action would attract punishment. Fear of punishment made slaves keep the truth about their suffering to themselves. Fear created loyalty as some slaves would quarrel and fight over whose master was better.
Douglass, while still a slave at Colonel Lloyd’s plantation, gives a detailed narration of some of the cruel deeds he witnessed. Chapter four is a narration of events after Mr. Hopkins had left Lloyd’s plantation and replaced by Mr. Austin Gore. Frederick begins by drawing a contrast between these two overseers and then later uses Mr. Gore as an image of cruelty. Mr. Gore is described as cruel, obdurate and artful in his inhumane acts. He was gravely feared and his sight would bring a thrill of horror on the slaves under him.
In chapter five, Frederick mainly narrates his personal experience as a young slave. He narrates how privileged he was to have the favour of his old master’s son though he still faced most of the inhumane acts faced by other slaves. He was particularly excited when he was told that he would be relocated to Baltimore to a different master. In his mind, Frederick knew living conditions might not change in his new settlement but he was excited about change of environment. Frederick narrates their arrival at his new mistress’ place and he says that it gave him a new sense of optimism. Chapter five narrates the events that followed immediately after arrival in Baltimore. Frederick’s mistress was generous and kind that she even taught him how to read and write a few words in English, though Mr. Auld, later warned her against it. From this point, Frederick had learnt the path slavery to freedom.
Douglass, Frederick. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass as an American Slave. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 1845. Read More
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