Narrative Of The Life By Fredrick Douglass Essay

786 Words Nov 15th, 2015 4 Pages
The first paragraph in Fredrick Douglass’ “Narrative of the Life” presents a young Fredrick understanding his condition as a slave. He cannot tell the readers his exact age. He should not be privy to such information. “And it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant” (Narrative 946). His critical understanding of his world begins with an inquiry into the nature and history of slavery (Galelilo). Douglass is inquisitive and recognizes that knowledge equals power. In his autobiography Frederick Douglass proves that with a thirst for knowledge and with an innate view of the world around him he can overcome both literal and figurative slavery.
Douglass is aware from a young age that things are being kept from him. He was taken away from his mother right after birth. Most newborn slaves were separated from their mother to keep them from bonding and getting attached. He also is not told who is father is. He points out that slave owners deliberately keep their slaves ignorant, and that this is a tactic whites use to gain power over slaves (spark). He first learns of this when he is sold to a family in Baltimore. The wife, Mrs. Sophia Auld, begins teaching him the alphabet and some words. Her husband, Hugh Auld, learns of what she is doing and he orders her to stop immediately. Without realizing what he was doing Hugh Auld teaches Douglass a valuable lesson. Douglass recognized that literacy was a currency that could buy much more than…

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