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What happened to Douglass's Aunt Hester?
Captain Anthony prohibits Aunt Hester from going out in the evenings and warns her to never let him catch her in the company of a young man, Ned Roberts. One night, Captain Anthony desires Aunt Hester’s presence, but she is nowhere to be found. Aunt Hester disobeys Captain Anthony’s orders, and is found with Ned Roberts. As punishment, Captain Anthony violently whips Aunt Hester. The young Douglass witnesses the beating and learns of the brutal reality of slavery and slave masters.
What was Douglass's relationship with his mother?
Douglass was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, at an early age, and she was sent to a farm twelve miles away from his home. He does not remember much of her other than a handful of visits she made to see him at night, but only for a short amount of time. They communicated very little during these visits, and before any sort of relationship could truly develop between them, Douglass’s mother dies when he is about seven years old. Douglass compares learning of his mother’s death to learning about the death of a stranger.
What does Sophia Auld teach Douglass?
Though it is unlawful and unsafe, Sophia Auld teaches Douglass how to read. Mrs. Auld begins by teaching Douglass the alphabet and later helps him learn how to spell. When Mr. Auld discovers what Sophia is doing, he forbids her from continuing Douglass’s education. However, this does not deter Douglass and he continues to learn without a teacher.
How does Sophia Auld change during the time Douglass lives in her house?
Sophia transforms from a kind, caring woman who owns no slaves to an excessively cruel slave owner. Douglass uses Sophia’s transformation from kind to cruel as a message about the negative effects of slavery on slaveholders’ morality. His initial description of Sophia idealizes her kindness, and his description of her character post-transformation equally dramatizes her demonic qualities. Sophia appears in the Narrative as a symbolic character as well as a realistic character. Her symbolism of a culture’s corruption and the change she undergoes while Douglass lives in her house is an important emotional component of Douglass’s larger argument against slavery.
What did Mr. Covey do to Douglass?
When Douglass arrives at Covey’s farm, Douglass is tasked to guide a team of unbroken oxen. The oxen are uncooperative, and after an incident, Douglass barely escapes with his life. When Covey discovers that Douglass has failed, Covey orders Douglass to remove his clothes and receive punishment. When Douglass refuses, Covey rushes at him, tears his clothes off, and whips him repeatedly. Covey continues to whip Douglass almost weekly as punishment for Douglass’s supposed “awkwardness.”
Ace your assignments with our guide to Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass!