In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, what are three events in Frederick Douglass's life that had a great influence on him and helped in his decision to gain his freedom? 

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many events shaped Frederick Douglass's life. One of the most important was when he was sent to Baltimore, where his slave mistress, Mrs. Auld, began to teach him to read. He writes, "Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity" (page 18 in the Dover edition). Learning to read was vital to his eventual escape, as literacy enabled him to read the arguments against slavery (though he already understood the injustices of slavery from his personal experience) and gave him the confidence necessary to dare to escape. 

Another important event was when Douglass's fellow slave, Sandy, gave him a root that he said would prevent the overseer, Mr. Covey, from brutalizing him. Douglass writes, "there was something in the root which Sandy had given me" (page 42). This root provided Douglass with the courage to fight against his oppressor and also increased his courage and desire to escape from slavery. Another important event was when Douglass's master hired him out to a shipbuilder in Baltimore (page 55). This experience provided Douglass with skills so that he knew he would be able to support himself when he escaped northward. 

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question