The following is chapter by chapter information that you need to know for discussion and other activities involving Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Write out all answers and put the page numbers where you found the information.
These are terms that you need to be aware of in order to understand the structure and topic of this novel.
Irony: words that convey a meaning that’s opposite of its literal meaning
Abolition: the legal prohibition & ending of slavery
Abolitionist: a person who advocated or supported the abolition of slavery in the U.S.A.
Chattel: slave—a moveable article of personal property
Primary Source: an original fundamental & authoritative document pertaining to an event or subject of inquiry; a firsthand or eyewitness account of an event
Why does Mr. Covey buy a slave to use as a breeder?
To get more slaves to work for him since he couldn’t afford it (37)
Why does he hire Mr. Samuel Harrison, a married man? What irony does Frederick find in this?
To breed w/ Caroline—make more slaves. Ironic b/c Covey looks wealthy b/ is not (37)
How does Mr. Covey succeed in breaking Frederick?
“broken in body, soul & spirit, intellect & cheerfulnessbroken to be a brute (38)
How does Frederick succeed in again becoming a man?
Fighting Covey—gained confidence (43)
Why does Frederick go to Master Thomas Auld?
To tell him what happened at Covey’s place (39-41)
Why does he return to Covey? Who convinces him to do so? What does Sandy Jenkins suggest that Frederick do?
b/c he was Covey’s for a year & FD wasn’t to trouble Auld again w/ stories; Sandy told him to go back to Covey’s & carry a root in his right pocket so not to get whipped (41-42)
How does Frederick win the fight with Mr. Covey?
Made Covey bleed (42)
Why does Frederick contend that Mr. Covey does not turn him in?
b/c Covey would be worse off—he has a reputation to protect (43)
What would have happened to Frederick had Mr. Covey turned him in?
Taken to whipping post & whipped regularly (43)
Why is Frederick’s battle with Mr. Covey the climax of the story?
It’s a turning point for FD—gets his confidence back; gets his manhood back
How are the holidays used to “disgust the slave with freedom”?
Masters deceived slaves of what freedom was—drinking a lot—abuse of freedom (45)
Where does Frederick go after leaving Mr. Covey’s on January 1, 1834?
Went & lived w/ William Freeland (45)
Who is his new master and how does he treat Frederick?
William Freeland—educated southern gentleman; respected humanity, no regards to religion (45-46)
Why does Frederick include the anecdotes about the two religious slave holders, Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Weeden?
b/c religion is a “covering of the most horrid crimes” & justified ill deeds; even high class people in religion were cruel (46)
What is ironic about what the slaveholders want the slaves to do on the Sabbath?
They read—to learn the New Testament (48)
What is dangerous about Frederick’s confiding of his plans to the Sabbath school slaves?
They may tell
Why did so few slaves escape? Find a quote that provides good explanation of this fact.
What is the plan, and what is the purpose of the “protections?”
Get large canoe from Mr. Hamilton (Saturday before Easter) & paddle up to the Chesapeake Bay, follow North Star beyond Maryland. Protections protect slaves on their venture to freedom; white masters are to write the protections (51)
What happened to each of the slaves who attempted to run away?
They were caught, dragged 15 miles by horses, & put in jail (54)
What happens to Frederick when he decides to fight against attackers? What happens to him?
He gets beat up really bad—big swollen eye, he runs away and tells Mr. Hugh. Hugh is upset & takes it to court b/ nothing happens b/c no white man will testify (58)
What happens to Frederick’s first wages?
Given to Mr. Hugh b/ made $1.50 per day & gave to Master Hugh b/c FD felt compelled to do it b/c Master Hugh had the power to compel (felt obligated to give it to him) (58)
What are two reasons why Frederick cannot relate his means of escape?
What had Douglass believed about the life in the North? Was he correct? Explain.
Clean, new, beautiful, cheerful, wealthy—he was NOT correct (67)
What does Douglass discover about prejudice against color in New Bedford?
Blacks vs. fugitive slaves—blacks will accuse fugitive slaves & kill them or return them to their masters; white calkers wouldn’t’ work w/ black calkers (68)
What work does he find?
Stowing a sloop w/ loads of oil (68)
Why is Douglass at first reluctant to speak out against slavery?
B/c others said things so much better than he did; idea of speaking to whites weighed him down (69)
Why do you think Douglass added the appendix?
Add explanation of what he wrote that may have turned people away/off of what he said
What does he mean by “slaveholding religion”?
It’s the opposite of what Christianity was supposed to be about (hypocrites) (71)
Why does Douglass contend that the church turns the other check on the treatment of slaves?
How does he compare the slaveholding Christians to the Pharisees and ancient scribes?
What does he say about the church of the North?
Throughout the narrative, Douglass makes several important points over and over. Review the narrative to find quotes related to these points. Either mark them in your book with the page number beside the quote, or write the page and quote beside the point.
Justice for slaves (and all men of color) is different from justice for whites.