Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Chapters 10–11

While under the control of Mr. Covey, Frederick Douglass bit his hand and has an especially hard time at the tasks required of him. He is harshly whipped almost on a weekly basis, apparently due to his awkwardness. He is worked and was beaten to exhaustion, which finally causes him to collapse one day while working in the fields. Because of this, he is brutally beaten once more by Covey, and eventually complains to Thomas Auld, who ultimately sends him back to Covey. One day, Covey attempts to tie up Douglass, but he fights back. After a long, two-hour physical battle, Douglass ultimately conquers. After this fight, he is never beaten again. Douglass is not punished by the law, which is believed to be due to the fact that Covey cherishes his reputation as a "negro-breaker," which would be jeopardized if others knew what happened. He is sent to live on another plantation where he befriends other slaves and teaches them how to read. He and the others make a plan to escape, but before doing so, they are caught and Douglass is put in jail. After he was released 2 years later, he is sent to Baltimore once more, but this time to learn a trade. He becomes an apprentice in a shipyard where he is abused by several white people; then 4 whites nearly gouge out his left eye. When this happens, Douglass goes to Master Hugh, who is kind regarding this situation and refuses to let Douglass return to the shipyard. Master Hugh tries to find a lawyer but all refuse, saying they can only do something for a white person. Sophia Auld, who had turned cruel, felt pity for Douglass and tended to the wound at his left eye until he is healed. At this point, Douglass is employed to be a caulker and receives wages, but is forced to give every cent to Master Auld in due time. Douglass eventually finds his own job and plans the date in which he will escape to the North. He succeeds but does not give details of how he did so in order to protect those who helped him, and to ensure the possibility of other slaves escape. At this point Douglass unites with his fiancée and begins working as his own master. He ultimately attends an anti-slavery convention and supports the cause from then on.

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