Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

565 WordsFeb 4, 20182 Pages
Picture this going through life without the ability to read or write. Without these abilities, it is impossible for a person to be a functioning member of society. In addition, imagine that someone is purposely limiting your knowledge to keep a leash on your independence. Not only is an American slave raised without skills in literacy, he cannot be taught to read unless someone breaks the law. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the reader is given a detailed explanation of why slave masters keep their slaves ignorant and the effects such a strategy has on the slaves’ lives. In his autobiography, Douglass describes how the knowledge he obtains has substantial positive and negative effects on his psyche. He is given renewed passion and hope for freedom while struggling with the burden of enlightenment of his situation. Ultimately, however, education shapes his fate, and he achieves freedom and prominence as an advocate for abolition. Even though the words of his master degrade Douglass, they also inspire him to pursue reading and freedom more passionately. When Douglass sees how intimidated his master, Hugh Auld, is at the idea of his wife, Sophia Auld, teaching young Frederick to read, he realizes that knowledge is truly power. He feels the constraint his master imposed on him his entire life, and he begins to understand how to free himself. Douglass writes that, “From that moment I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom…I was gladdened by the invaluable
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