Frederick Douglass Reflection

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Throughout Frederick Douglass 's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass attempts to educate himself. His first glimpse of education comes when his master’s wife, Mrs. Auld, teaches him the A, B, C’s and how to spell short words. Mr. Auld finds out his wife is committing the disgusting crime of teaching a slave and discontinues the lessons. Now, the only way for Douglass to learn is on his own. Eventually Douglass becomes educated and learns how to read and write. As a result of his new knowledge he truly understands the injustice surrounding him leading to his emancipation. Without educating himself Douglass would not have completely understood the depravity of the slavery establishment in which he resided. Learning how to read…show more content…
Many times he is distressed while thinking about fleeing captivity. During his leisure time he would venture down the banks of the bay and stare out at the ships. He writes, “I have often, in the deep stillness of a summer’s Sabbath, stood all alone upon the lofty banks of that noble bay, and traced, with saddened heart and tearful eye, the countless number of sails moving off to the mighty ocean,” (72). For Douglass these ships represent something unattainable; they are a new, free life in the north. He knows what position he is in and he believes that he has no reason to feel inspired for false hope. All he can do is daydream about his plans to escape and future freedom, and pour his soul out to the ships. Douglass’s eagerness to learn, and drive to immerse himself with knowledge was unrelenting. He explains that, “while in this state of mind, I was eager to hear any one speak of slavery. I was a ready listener,” (52). The state of mind he puts himself in is one distress and curiousness. He understands that learning would only better his situation, so he seeks any information regarding slavery. At the same time he is tormented by the difficulty of escaping. He believes that slaves knowing every detail about slavery is what the slave-owners don’t want, so he sets out to do just that. While down at the wharf of Mr. Waters, Douglass has the idea to escape…show more content…
Leading up to his departure from Master Hugh, Douglass states, “I now come to that part of my life which I planned, and finally succeeded in making, my escape from slavery,” (99). It is fair to say that an uneducated slave would not have been able to successfully devise a plan to escape. It wasn’t just book smarts Douglass possessed. He was naturally smart. We see this when he teaches himself to read and write, as well as in his methods of anticipating his escape. As a freed man in New Bedford, Douglass utilizes his literacy and takes up reading the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator. “I had not long been a reader of the “Liberator,” before I got a pretty correct idea of the principles, measures, and spirit of the anti-slavery reform,” (112). Because he is able to read, he can formulate new opinions and ideas relating to the anti-slavery cause. Learning the alphabet provided Douglass with more than he ever could have anticipated. If not for education Douglass would never be in this spot, a free man reading a newspaper, living a better life in New
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