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

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What source does Douglass rely on to learn how to read and write as explained in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave?

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Mrs. Auld is a weaver by trade and has never had slaves "under her control previously," so she treats Douglass with kindness initially, just as she would do for any other human being. She realizes that he cannot read and first teaches him how to recognize letters and then how to form short words. This basic instruction completely changes Douglass's life, as it gives him the needed tools to begin to build a sense of order in the printed world around him.

Mr. Auld's reaction solidifies the importance in continuing this journey. When he tells his wife that she cannot give Douglass any further instruction because Douglass "should know nothing but to obey his master—to do as he is told to do," Douglass realizes the power of literacy. His quest to further his literacy instruction becomes his passionate desire, and he gets pretty creative in following up on that initial base of knowledge.

Douglass realizes that the white boys he passes in the streets are hungry, and Douglass himself has...

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kedria | Student

Will douglass relpy on his mistress to help him and not no little white boys that was in the neighbor hood but he husband forbid it