13 February 2010
The Value of Education and a Lesson in Determination in
“The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas an American Slave” by Himself “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas an American Slave” tells the story of the author a former slave named Frederick Douglass. After being born into slavery, he eventually escapes becoming a champion for freedom, a distinguished American diplomat, a well thought of orator, and an important writer. He accomplishes all these things despite being denied a formal education. Douglass was able to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to learn to read and write. This narrative not only illustrated the value of education but, also showed that with determination one can overcome any adversity and succeed. Douglass begins by telling us he was born into slavery in Maryland, his mother’s name was Harriet Bailey, and he was separated from her at birth. He reveals he is not sure how old he is and that his father was a white man rumored to be his first master. He was later sent to Baltimore where his new master’s wife began to teach him to read. His Master Hugh found out and put a stop to it insisting Douglass would become unmanageable and unhappy. When Douglass heard this he realized that the lock on the bonds of slavery was ignorance, and education was his key to freedom. Eventually he succeeded in teaching himself to read and write with help from his white friends. After educating himself he developed a better understanding of slavery and began to regard his enslavers as wicked. When he is sent to be broken by Mr. Covey he is whipped on a regular basis and almost loses hope, but he ends up fighting back regaining confidence in himself. Douglas marks this as a turning point and vows never to be whipped again. Later, Douglass learns the trade of caulking, has a disagreement with his master over wages, attempts another escape and succeeds in reaching New York...
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