Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

 

1. What is the significance of the information Douglass provides about the early years of his life?
2. What does he mean, on p.238, when he describes the first whipping he witnessed as, “the blood-stained gate”?
3. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?
4. Explain the significance of literacy for Douglass?
5. How does Douglass feel about Southern Christianity? Why?

17 thoughts on “Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

  1. Explain the significance of literacy for Douglass?

    Literacy serves as a gateway to Freedom. A a slave becomes literate it allows for them to educated themselves. They’ll be able to read and understand things such as laws, the bible, and news papers. These are all resources that help slaves understand the Dehumanizing things that are being done to them. With literacy, they’ll be able to plan their own escape and know where they could seek freedom.

    1. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?

      I gained a greater understanding of the hypocracy that was prevalent during that time period and how people could profess the word of God one minute and then abruptly turn their backs on these principles.

  2. 1. What is the significance of the information Douglass provides about the early years of his life?

    When Douglass was a young child, he witnessed Aunt Hester getting whipped by Colonel Lloyd for disobeying him. He ordered her not to go out for the evening but was also founded being with Lloyd’s Ned. As punishment, he stripped her down, tied her up, and started striking her. Douglass was terrified of what he witnessed and realized the meaning of what being a slave is like.

  3. What does he mean, on p.238, when he describes the first whipping he witnessed as, “the blood-stained gate”?

    He witnessed this when he was a child. It was very cruel and horrible for young Douglass. Blood was sprayed everywhere while the slave was being whipped by its master. This is the very moment that he realized how the life of slavery is. “the blood-stained gate” is a gate of going into a slavery world like hell.

  4. 1. What is the significance of the information Douglass provides about the early years of his life?
    At the beginning of the narrative Douglass informed us, how he never knows his birthday like white children. As well as, he never saw his father and never discovers his real birth day. He compares slaves’ birth day with “horses,” because the horses never know their birth days. In the same way, slaves do not have any written document about their birthdays.

  5. 4. Explain the significance of literacy for Douglass?
    The idea of literacy provides a very important tool for Douglass to gain his freedom. As he was born into slavery and uneducated, he did not know how to read or write. However, after realizing that it was the only thing standing between himself and his slave owner, he felt literacy would give him the power and the pathway to escape slavery. Not only would Frederick Douglass gain the ability to fully understand his experience in slavery through literacy, it would give him the ability to understand that he is not alone and there is hope out there for him.

  6. In his Narrative, Douglas cites learning how to read as pivotal in his life and eventual emancipation. When Mr. Auld figures out that Mrs. Auld has been teaching him to read, he immediately urges her to stop, as he considers slavery and education to be incompatible.

    Literacy would mean that Frederick is able to read the experiences and gain perspective on his own condition. This causes him great grief, and “opens his eyes to the pit but offers no ladder”. Literacy was the only thing that differentiated a slave from a slave owner, and gaining that power must be so disorienting. Learning to read means learning to write, and for Douglas this meant he could immortalize his experience in writing.

  7. Explain the significance of literacy for Douglass?

    Literacy is the most significant turning point of Douglass’s life because it shows him the way of freedom. First time he thinks of freedom strongly when he sees his master being extremely denial about his interest in education and then he realizes it must be important. Eventually when he gets to read books and newspapers regarding the revolution to free slaves, he becomes braver. After all he achieves his freedom and publishes his writing so people can be motivated. All of these has been possible for his being literate.

  8. 1. What is the significance of the information Douglass provides about the early years of his life?

    Douglass provides information on his earlier life so us as readers can truly understand his life and everything he had gone through as a slave. Douglass discusses the time he saw his aunt being whipped as an eye opener that he is truly a slave. Seeing this it kind of motivated him to escape that life. He had hope when he was younger of being able to surpass all the obstacles and becoming a free slave.

  9. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?

    I always knew slavery was horrible but i didn’t expect slaves to be treated so cruelly to the point that animals were seemingly better off. I was also surprised just how fast someone could change for the worse after becoming a slave master for the first time which was what happened with Mrs. Auld.

  10. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?

    Slavery is horrible. The cruel beatings Douglass received are cruel and they went unjustified for the whole slavery period. This disgusted me thinking about what our society did because of people being “different” than someone else in that society. This was also consider a social norm to history which is not okay in today’s generation.

  11. 3. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?

    I was shock to learn that slaves were able to find some positive in their master. The way other slaves from a different plantation would try make comparisons on like one was better than the other. I was conflicted with it but than I kind of understood it as you have to find some good in everything. Sort of like “things are bad but at least I’m not like that guy”

  12. Explain the significance of literacy for Douglass?

    The significance of literacy of Douglass is the turning point in his entire life. He saw literacy the path towards freedom because he saw his master getting extremely upset. Douglass realized that if his master gets mad at him for learning how to read and write, he could imagine what would happen if he was proficient in literacy. So once he escapes from slavery, he shared his experience of what he been through and influence people to abolish slavery.

  13. 4. Explain the significance of literacy for Douglass?

    Literacy meant Freedom to Douglass. It was his only way of scape so he made it his priority, was the one hope/chance he had that could make him free one day. He found out how literacy meant his freedom when his master at the time found out, he was furious about the fact his wife had been teaching Douglass how to read and write (Pg.250).

  14. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?

    One thing I learned about slavery after reading Frederick Douglas was that if you were a slave and dedicated your time to literacy, you will eventually be freed. Could be in a literal way or just freed in your mind. You’ll know how to cope with fear and mentally stronger than before. Before reading Douglass I never knew that slaves could communicate with each other through music and that playing music eventually got banned since the masters figured out their purpose of making music. They used music to transfer messages and also get away from the horrors slavery brought.

  15. What have you learned from reading this narrative that you didn’t already know about slavery in America?

    One thing I gained a greater understanding for was that the literacy learned in those times were essential as it made a person sharper and more adept to avoid being taken advantage of.

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