Knowledge as a Path to Freedom
Frederick Douglass wrote “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” in 1845 to tell his story
of being a slave for many years but then gaining his freedom by escaping slavery. However, this
process had many twists and turns. Becoming knowledgeable and sharing his knowledge was
Frederick’s path to freedom. He lived on a plantation since he was a little child. He was eight years old
when he went to live in Baltimore so he could work for a man named Mr. Hugh Auld. Mr. Auld’s wife,
Mrs. Sophia, taught Douglass how to read and write. Mr. Auld did not agree with his wife teaching
Douglass states that Mr. Auld said, “If you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no
keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of
no value to his master,”(34).
Douglass then realized how different slaveholders treated their slaves.
Shortly after Mr. Auld told Mrs. Auld what he thought about her teachings, she started to become
hateful to Douglass. She stopped the lessons, but Douglass had already learned from Mr. Auld’s intense
reaction that education was his path to freedom. Douglass comes up with a plan to find someone new to
teach him since Mrs. Auld had stopped. Douglass states,”The plan which I had adopted, and the one
... their continuous pursuit of freedom of all kinds. Works Cited Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. Boston: 1845 Yezierska, ... his new master and mistress, Mr. and Mrs. Auld. Mrs. Auld taught Douglass the alphabet, and had also begun to teach him ... her own (Yezierska 151). Sara could see that the path they had taken was not right for her. Marriage had ...
by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in
the streets, ”(38).
When Douglass had to go out for errands, he would hurry and do his errands, so that
he could go to the white boys and get a lesson in before he had to return home. He would give the boys
bread in return for their knowledge.
When Captain Anthony died, what remained of Douglass’s family was divided up. His grandmother, too old to work, was put out of her cabin and sent into the woods to die. Douglass’s determination to become free increased. He was sent back to work the fields for the infamous slave breaker Edward Covey. After a year of regular healings and near starvation, Douglass was handed over to another farmer, Mr. Freeland. This is where Douglass starts to get other slaves interested in learning. He states, “I succeeded in creating in them a strong desire to learn how to read. This desire soon sprang up in the others also,”(68).
Douglass then started a Sabbath school and many slaves came to learn how to read. He taught for that whole year and he was proud of himself for sharing his knowledge with his fellow-slaves. Douglass thoughts of freedom aroused and this is where he decides to try to claim his freedom. Douglass does not want to leave his fellow-slaves behind. Douglass states, “But I was not willing to cherish this determination alone. My fellow-slaves were dear to me. I was anxious to have them participate with me in this, my life-giving determination,”(70).
He goes to each of his fellow-slaves and they all agree with him. Therefore, they start to plan for their escape. They have everything planned out and departure day comes, but they did not get to escape. Some how their master caught on to their plan and they got arrested for trying to escape. Douglass States, “ They at once seized me, and, without giving me any satisfaction, tied me-lashing my hands closely together,”(74).
They get out of jail and Douglass is sent back to work for Mr. Hugh Auld. He then plans to escape again and this time he succeeds. Douglass is not allowed to fully tell us how he was able to escape because some certain people was involved and he did not want to say whom. Douglass’s life mission was finally completed and he could not have asked for more. He changed his name so that no-one would discover that he was an escaped slave on the run. Him and his girlfriend, Anna Murray, went to New York, where they got married and lived happily after as free man and woman. |
... of a slave is a psychologically wounding contradiction. Douglass's idea of freedom and his escape plan all came to ... him one day as he was dong an errand for his master. Douglass ... live. After numerous accounts with cruel slave owners Douglass's desire to escape deepened. Slowly, he saved up ... and was officially sent to a plantation to work at the age of seven. Prior to working ...