In "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass", Douglass knew Mrs. Auld was not trained in being a slaveholder because she was what?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Douglass knew Mrs. Auld was not trained in being a slaveholder because she was kind and good to him.  She saw him as a person and did not look down on him; she conveyed none of the imperious sense of superiority common among those who had been used to owning slaves.

When Douglass first saw Mrs. Auld, he said he "saw what (he) had never seen before...a white face beaming with the most kindly emotions" (Chapter V).  She proved to be "all she appeared when (he) first met her...a woman of the kindest heart and finest feelings".  Mrs. Auld did not expect Douglass to behave in a servile manner before her, and soon after he came to live with her family, she began to teach him how to read.  Sadly, her husband, upon discovering what she was doing, forbade her to continue, telling her that "a nigger should know nothing but to obey his master - to do as he is told".  It was not long until "the fatal poison of irresponsible power" given her by her position as a slaveholder, eroded the purity and goodness of her nature, and Mrs. Auld became like the others of her station.  Her "cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage...that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord...and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon" (Chapter VI).

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