Summary of Chapter 1
“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” written by Frederick Douglass is one of the famous slave narratives of the North. Douglass, born as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Maryland begins his slave narrative with his birth in Tuckahoe, Maryland. He says that he does not know who his father was and that he saw his mother only four to five times in his life. Douglass also expresses his doubt that his master was his father. Separation from parents and lack of information about paternity and age were common among the slaves. The masters kept the slaves ignorant of their age, while the whites were free to express their age.
Summary of Chapter 2
As a child, Douglass worked on the plantations of Colonel Edward Lloyd. Douglass makes a mention about his master’s brutal whippings of slaves, who belonged to all age groups. Douglass states that his childhood was typical and similar to that of several other slave children. The slaves had to live a miserable life as they received limited quantity of food, clothing and shelter. The children had no proper clothes or shoes to work on the plantations. Douglass describes that the slaves who belonged to all groups, the young and old, male and female, married and single, slept on cold, damp floors under miserable blankets. The person in charge on the plantation was Mr. Severe, who was a cruel man. After a few months Mr. Hopkins, a good man replaces the position post Mr. Severe’s death.
Summary of Chapter 3
Douglass describes that Colonel Lloyd had a garden full of fruits, which the slave children used to steal at times. To stop the theft, Colonel Lloyd put tar around the fence. Lloyd used to punish the slaves severely if they had tar on their clothes or body. Colonel Lloyd also had a stable of horses. Old and Young Barney took care of the horses. Lloyd used to punish Old and Young Barney severely for no reason. The plantation was so large that Lloyd does not know all the slaves and the slaves did not know their master.
Summary of Chapter 4
After a few months, when Mr. Austin Gore replaces Mr. Hopkins, Douglass feels the reason for change was due to Mr. Hopkins lack of severity as an in charge. Douglass narrates an instance of the death of a slave named Demby. Mr. Gore shot Demby for he jumped into a creek fearing from Mr. Gore’s whippings. Douglass states that killing the slaves was not a crime in the Talbot County. It was common to kill the slaves for no proper reason.
Summary of Chapter 5
During his childhood, Douglass spent most of the time with Master Daniel Lloyd, who treated Douglass well. However, he could not escape the pains of hunger. He slept in stolen bag fearing from the chilled winds. At the age of seven years, Douglass was happy to hear the news that he had to move to Baltimore to work for Hugh Auld, a ship carpenter in the city. He was ready to move to Baltimore because his mother was already dead and he had limited relations with his sisters and brother.
Summary of Chapter 6
Douglass comments that the life of the slaves who work in the city was better than the life of those who work on the plantations. He narrates that his freedom and liberty increased in the city due to his new master’s wife, Sophia Auld, who was kind enough to teach alphabets to Douglass. The lessons came to an end when Hugh warned his wife not to teach Douglass as he would no longer remain a slave if he learnt to read and write. Douglass took it as a challenge and decided to read and write at any cost.
Summary of Chapter 7
Douglass learns to study from the poor white kids in exchange of bread. At the age of twelve, when Douglass was able to read, he captures ideas on liberty, freedom and truth from the book “The Columbian Orator.” Douglass realizes his miserable condition and starts to hate the institution of slavery. Not knowing much about the Abolitionist movement, Douglass takes advice from two Irishmen to run away to the North. After several years of effort, Douglass succeeds in reading and writing.
Summary of Chapter 8
At a few years, Douglass had to leave Baltimore after the death of Master Anthony as he passed away without leaving a will about the property. Douglass was in deep trouble as he did not want to miss the life at Baltimore. Douglass feels that his grandmother was the worst sufferer as she had to see her children and grandchildren sold away. He repented for not escaping from Baltimore as it was easier to escape from a city rather plantation. However, Douglass was lucky enough to go to Baltimore to work for the same master.
Summary of Chapter 9
In 1832, Douglass left to Colonel Lloyd's plantation to work for Hugh’s brother, Thomas Auld, where he had to suffer from hunger once again. Douglass had to accept slavery forcefully on the plantation. In regards to religion, Thomas was an inconsistent man, who feels his actions praiseworthy all the time, while the church goers preach to free the slaves. Douglass mentions that he wasn’t against Christianity. After discovering that Thomas and Douglass could not stand each other, Thomas decides to rent out Douglass to Mr. Covey.
Summary of Chapter 10
Summary of Chapter 11
One fine day, On September 3rd, Douglass escapes to New York in search of freedom. He meets Mr. Ruggles and finds a place to stay. Douglass marries a free slave Anna in a church and the couple moves to New Bedford. Douglass meets several strangers who loan him to earn the livelihood. Douglass finds a job and becomes a master. He subscribes to an abolitionist magazine, called ‘The Liberator’ and involves in the cause of emancipating slavery. Finally, Douglass transforms into a freeman.