According to Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, what was life like for Frederick Douglass as a young American slave boy in Maryland?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This depends on where in Maryland Douglass is at the time of inquiry.  Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland, and spent the early years of his childhood on a large plantation.  Because he was too young to work in the fields, he spent much time driving cows and cleaning the front yard.  In his leisure time, he helped his master's son on errands such as chasing after downed birds that Master Daniel shot while hunting. 

When Douglass was around five years old, he was sent to Baltimore to live with his master's brother.  There he was to be the companion of the master's son.  Since he lived in the city, his life was much easier than it had been on the plantation.  Master Hugh gave him enough food to eat, and the living conditions were much more comfortable.  Douglass says that people who lived in the city took pride in how well they treated their slaves.

During the day in Baltimore, Douglass made haste running his errands which allowed him to have extra time for his own interests, namely finding poor white boys who would agree to give him reading lessons.  So life for young Douglass in Baltimore had considerable freedoms compared to life on the plantation.

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