Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Questions and Answers
by Frederick Douglass

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How do the master's treatment of the slaves, as depicted in chapter 1, affect Douglass?  

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Douglass is just a child when he first witnesses the overseer's brutal treatment of the slaves. Mr. Plummer is frequently drunk. He severely mistreats the slaves, brutally whipping and torturing them. Young Frederick observes that Plummer seems to take pleasure in his torture and often whips slaves so that they will scream, as well as so that they will stop screaming. Frederick has never seen any kind of spectacle like this before, and he is shocked. He feels he is "doomed" to continue seeing the bloody whippings take place; he worries that he is the next one on Plummer's list. Even as a child, Frederick recognizes that his future will be bleak and that when he grows up he will enter the gate to "the hell of slavery."

Douglass states that he cannot describe his horror at how people are treated. Equally, he will never forget what he witnesses. He is especially affected by seeing the barbaric torture that Aunt Hester endures at the hands of the master. A terrified young Frederick hides in...

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