Response to the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

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September 10, 2012 Response to the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas Frederick Douglass was a slave for about seven years in Master Hugh’s family. In the beginning, his mistress was such a kind, loving, gentle, and giving person, and treated him as she would anyone else. She taught him the alphabet, and that was the beginning of his desire to learn to read. Realizing this and because of her husband’s influence as a slaveholder, she gradually changed her ideas of trying to help Douglass. As a result, she became very bitter, angry, and cold-hearted toward him, and did everything she could to keep him from reading. The sentence in Douglass’s autobiography, “She was an apt woman; and a little experience soon demonstrated, to her satisfaction, that education and slavery were incompatible with each other” tells me that she was a likely person to be swayed by her husband’s opinions. Also, she was eager to let it be known that education and slavery just did not “mix”. That brought on her being very harsh with Douglass. In Douglass’s autobiography, he expressed gratitude toward the white boys in the neighborhood. He did this because they were truly the ones that actually taught him how to read and write. He was ever so grateful to them for the knowledge that he received from them, for their understanding for his plight as a slave, and for their support. He, too, realized that he had something to offer them, bread, but what they gave him was far more important, bread of knowledge. Slavery seemed to hurt Douglass’s mistress simply because she chose to let it. Being a slaveholder made her feel that she was better than he was. He was just a “nobody”, and she could treat him as she wanted to and he could do nothing about it. She was once a very compassionate and caring person, but in making a complete change she made his life miserable, and she, no doubt,

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