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Knowledge as a Path to Freedom

  • Date Submitted: 11/08/2010 03:25 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 80 
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Knowledge as a Path to Freedom

Frederick Douglass wrote “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” in 1845 to tell his story

of being a slave for many years but then gaining his freedom by escaping slavery. However, this

process had many twists and turns. Becoming knowledgeable and sharing his knowledge was

Frederick's path to freedom. He lived on a plantation since he was a little child. He was eight years old

when he went to live in Baltimore so he could work for a man named Mr. Hugh Auld. Mr. Auld's wife,

Mrs. Sophia, taught Douglass how to read and write. Mr. Auld did not agree with his wife teaching


Douglass states that Mr. Auld said, “If you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no

keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of

no value to his master,”(34). Douglass then realized how different slaveholders treated their slaves.

Shortly after Mr. Auld told Mrs. Auld what he thought about her teachings, she started to become

hateful to Douglass. She stopped the lessons, but Douglass had already learned from Mr. Auld's intense

reaction that education was his path to freedom. Douglass comes up with a plan to find someone new to

teach him since Mrs. Auld had stopped. Douglass states,”The plan which I had adopted, and the one

by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in

the streets, ”(38). When Douglass had to go out for errands, he would hurry and do his errands, so that

he could go to the white boys and get a lesson in before he had to return home. He would give the boys

bread in return for their knowledge.

    When Captain Anthony died, what remained of Douglass's family was divided up. His   grandmother, too old to work, was put out of her cabin and sent into the woods to die. Douglass's   determination to become free increased. He was sent back to work the fields for the...


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