The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass illustrates his lifelong journey from agony as a slave to rejoice as a free man. Douglass narrates his entire life through this book and shows the readers how he survived as a slave. He was born in Talbot County, Maryland.
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Douglass stuns the readers on the first page of chapter one when he says that he has no knowledge of his age and that he has never met a slave that knew their birthday. As someone who celebrates each new year of life and looks forward to celebrating this day, I could not be able to imagine not knowing how old I was. To give more information about his life, Frederick introduces his parents, Harriet and his father which he does not know what his name was.
All interaction with his mom were cut when he was just an infant. Sometimes she would sneak around plantations to visit him occasionally at night, in hopes of not getting caught. Frederick also did not have any relationship with his father and the only thing he knew about him was that he was white. This implied that he was actually a descendant of his slaveholder. The slaveholderr’s wife especially hated Douglass because she was ashamed and embarrassed that her husband had cheated on her and that he was the result of it. When the master was Frederickr’s father and his slaveholder, relations with his white family can be compromised and the master has to make the decision to follow through with the title of a slaveholder and abuse his own child, or lose profit and sell his slave to another plantation. Douglass was left with a dead mother and an ashamed father at the age of seven. As one can see, Douglass was raised with the void of any compassion and did not have a relationship with either parent.
As the biography continues, Douglass introduces the first of his many masters. The first one was Captain Anthony. This master wasnt the most successful or wealthy, as he had only owned thirty slaves but he did have an overseer known as Mr. Plummer, as Douglass describes as, a miserable drunkard, a profane swearer, and a savage monster. (Douglass 4) Mr. Plummer was extremely violent and felt no mercy while beating women. He abused them so much so that even the Master did not approve of his belligerent tendencies. The Master also was not soft-hearted. He had spent a lifetime of slaveholding, so he did not feel any sympathy while he whipped a naked womanr’s back and watched them scream in pain and misery. Douglass says that he could not communicate the horrors that he experienced on paper because they were so gruesome.
Experiencing traumatic scenes frightened young Frederick and stuck with him for long periods of time.
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