Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Chapters 5–7

At this point in the Narrative, Douglass is moved to Baltimore, Maryland. This is rather important for him because he believes that if he had not been moved, he would have remained a slave his entire life. He even starts to have hope for a better life in the future. At this point, he discusses his new mistress, Mrs. Sophia Auld, who begins as a very kind woman but eventually turns cruel. Douglass learns the alphabet and how to spell small words from this woman, but her husband, Mr. Auld, disapproves, and states that if slaves could read, they will not be fit to be a slave, being unmanageable and sad. Upon hearing why Mr. Auld disapproves of slaves being taught how to read, Douglass realizes the importance of reading and the possibilities that this skill could help him. He takes it upon himself to learn how to read and learn all he can, but at times, this newfound skill torments him. Douglass then gains an understanding of the word abolition and develops the idea to run away to the North. He also learns how to write and how to read well.

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