Assignment #4: Frederick Douglass

INSTRUCTIONS:

As as you read through The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, write down answers to the questions below.
Use YOUR OWN WORDS. Avoid quotes.  Write in complete sentences and use appropriate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Each Question is worth 10 points.

Questions 1-10 cover Chapters 1 – 6  

1. Why does Douglass say that slaves fathered by their masters suffer great hardships?
2. How does Douglass respond to the argument that the children of Ham are destined to be slaves?
3. For what reasons was Douglass’ aunt whipped?
4. What was the monthly food allowance for slaves?
5. Where did slaves sleep?
6. What was Douglass’ interpretation of slaves singing?
7. What was Douglass’ primary discomfort when he was a small child?
8. How were slave children fed?
9. Why were slaves forbidden to learn how to read?
10. According to Douglass, why are city slaves sometimes treated differently from slaves on a rural plantation?

Questions 11-20 cover Chapters 7-11  

11. How was slavery “injurious” to Master Hugh’s wife?
12. How did Douglass learn how to read and write?
13. Describe the relationship between Douglass’ grandmother and her master, including what occurred at the end of her life.
14. What was the impact of Master Auld’s relationship with his slaves after being converted?
15. What was the impact of Mr. Covey on Douglass during his first six months with him AND after their fight?
16. What strategy was most effective in preventing slave insurrection?  Why was it effective?
17. What was the relationship 
between slaves 

under Mr. Freeland?
18. Why did white shipbuilders say they refused to work with “colored” carpenters?
19. How does Douglass describe the emotional state of a fugitive slave?
20. Why was Douglass surprised about what he saw in New Bedford?T H E J O H N H A R V A R D L I B R A R Y

The John Harvard Library, founded in 1959, publishes essential

American writings, including novels, poetry, memoirs, criti-

cism, and works of social and political history, representing all

periods, from the beginning of settlement in America to the

twenty- first century. The purpose of The John Harvard Library

is to make these works available to scholars and general readers

in affordable, authoritative editions.

F R E D E R I C K D O U G L A S S

N A R R A T I V E O F T H E L I F E O F

F R E D E R I C K D O U G L A S S

A N A M E R I C A N S L A V E

W R I T T E N B Y H I M S E L F

I N T R O D U C T I O N B Y R O B E R T B . S T E P T O

j o h n

h a r v a r d

l i b r a r y

T H E B E L K N A P P R E S S O F H A R V A R D U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S

Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, En gland 2009

Copyright © 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

a l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d

Printed in the United States of America

Cataloging- in- Publication Data available from the Library of Congress

ISBN: 978- 0- 674- 03401- 3

Contents

Introduction by Robert B. Stepto vii

Note on the Text xxix

Chronology of Frederick Douglass’s Life xxxi

N A R R A T I V E O F T H E L I F E O F

F R E D E R I C K D O U G L A S S

Selected Bibliography 123

vii

Introduction:

Frederick Douglass Writes His Story

In 1845 , the year the extraordinary memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was published, Douglass was twenty-
seven years old and a fugitive slave. Which is to say, despite escaping

from bondage in 1838, marrying and starting a family, and earning

wages with his labor, despite his new life with a new name in Massa-

chusetts, where he also found a new career as a spokesman for the

abolitionist cause, Frederick Douglass was still a slave. This fact was

announced at ev ery antislavery meeting—indeed, Douglass’s role at

these meetings was to be The Slave Who Tells His Story—at the same

time that certain details of Douglass’s story were suppressed: it was

considered imprudent and dangerous for Douglass to offer his for-

mer name, to name his master, or to reveal the county and state of

his bondage, for that would in effect invite slave- catchers (or even

“men- of- the- law”) to seize and abduct him back into the hell of slav-

ery. Eventually, as Douglass tells us in the memoirs that came after

viii I N T R O D U C T I O N

the Narrative, his oral account of his story (related no doubt with

increasing ease, wit, and irony) created more and more skepticism

within his audiences: “People doubted if I had ever been a slave. They

said I did not talk like a slave, look like a slave, nor act like a slave,

and that they believed I had never been south of Mason’s and Dixon’s

line.”1 The response of the abolitionists was both remarkable and re-

vealing. For their part, they presse




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