Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Characters
Andrew is Captain Anthony's son, who is a wicked and merciless drunk that many slaves on Lloyd's plantation fear because he is so ruthless and cruel.
Master Thomas Auld
Thomas Auld is the brother of Hugh Auld, whom Douglass worked for in Baltimore, and the former husband of Lucretia, daughter of Douglass' master Captain Anthony. Because of a severe misunderstanding between the two brothers, Thomas Auld in spite takes Douglass to live with him for two years in St. Michael's, a rural part of Maryland. These are the worst years of Douglass' life, as he endures extreme hardship, both physically and mentally. Auld is most known for keeping his slaves hungry.
Captain Anthony is Douglass' first master and owns him until Anthony dies. Captain Anthony does not play a large part in the actual narrative, yet Douglass' life is thrown into disarray after Anthony dies, since he is bounced from one relative of Anthony to the next. Moreover, Douglass suggests early on that the captain may be his father. Douglass undergoes many hardships due to his owner's not providing for him, and thus he is at the mercy of Anthony's two children, Lucretia and Andrew, and their offspring.
Mr. Hugh Auld
Hugh Auld is the brother of Captain Anthony's son-in-law, Captain Thomas Auld. Beginning as a teenager, Douglass works for Auld for seven years in Baltimore, mostly taking care of Auld's son, Thomas. As slave masters go, Auld is less violent and more fair toward Douglass than many others he has worked under, yet Auld forbids his wife, Sophia, to teach Douglass how to read. He claims that education ''would forever unfit him to be a slave.'' Auld eventually and unwittingly provides Douglass the means of escape by hiring him out to ship carpenters.
Mrs. Sophia Auld
Mrs. Sophia Auld is a weaver by trade and married to Hugh Auld. She plays a significant part in Douglass' literacy acquisition by teaching him the alphabet. Unfortunately, she stops when her husband finds out and explains, ‘‘If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell.’’ Afterwards, Sophia becomes cold and mean-spirited towards Douglass, treating him callously like other slave owners. Yet ultimately she proves to be the nicest of Douglass' many masters.
Harriet Bailey is Frederick Douglass' mother. Despite being separated from her son at his birth, Harriet attempts to see her infant son by walking twelve miles from the farm where she works as a field hand to stay with him for a few hours before walking back before sunrise. She dies when Douglass is about seven years old.
Edward Covey was known as ‘‘a well-known negro breaker and slave-driver’’ in the St. Michael's area of Maryland, where Thomas Auld lived. His reputation in the area provides him with a steady supply of slaves who need to be taught who is master. Thus, Covey employs harsh and unrelenting physical work and punishment to break a slave's spirit and transform him into a brute. Ironically and hypocritically, Covey professes to be ‘‘a pious soul.’’ Covey is known by the slaves who work for him as ''a snake'' because he sneaks up on slaves when they least expect it. Douglass is sent to Covey for a year as a field hand, where he undergoes the worst trials his spirit has ever undergone. Yet having reached his lowest point, Douglass stands up to the man who has reduced him to merely an animal by challenging him on his own ground. After a grueling fight in which Douglass has the upper hand, Covey never again whips Douglass.
Douglass is the narrator of his account as a slave and his eventual journey to freedom. Beginning from his birth, Douglass experiences and witnesses many hardships throughout his years as a slave in Maryland and is prone to misfortune due to his subjugated status. His attempts at liberating himself, first through self-education and then through his escape to the North, are a testament to the desire of humans to acquire freedom.
(The entire section is 1,202 words.)