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Lili Mohr- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Page history last edited by Lili Mohr 1 year, 1 month ago



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“I received the tidings of her death with much the same emotion I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger.”


(C)(R) This is extremely sad to me. The death of your mother should have way more impact than the death of a stranger. However, I guess I understand if he had never gotten to see him mom or feel her love then he had no real connection to her therefore her death would have no impact on his life. 

“Slaves sing the most when they are most unhappy”


(Q) What makes them want to sing when they are the most unhappy? Why would they prefer to feel their sorrow more than their happiness? 

“...but to be a poor man’s slave was deemed a disgrace indeed.”


(R) They are essentially glorifying being a slave. If you are a slave of a rich man than you are better than someone who is not. They seem to forget the fact that slavery is slavery. There is still a competition to be better based on who their master is and that is just bizarre to me. It doesn’t matter how rich your master is, in the end they are all slaves being treated poorly. 

“I speak advisedly when I say this,- that killing a slave, or any colored person, in Talbot county, Maryland, is not treated as a crime, either by the courts or the community.”


(Q)(CL)(R) Why wouldn’t murder matter? I understand that because they are a colored person that there is no care if they are killed because in the eye of the white people it simply doesn’t matter. I guess I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the time and understanding that this was an actual thing that happened because obviously now things are drastically different. 

“From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace;”


(E) I am glad that he is determined that he isn’t going to be a slave forever. He plans on escaping and beating slavery. 

“From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom.” 


(P)(R) He is most likely going to use this newfound knowledge to run away and escape slavery. He understands the fear that slave owners have. If a slave can read and write then they become more powerful and harder to control, making the job as an owner more difficult.. and of course the slave owners don't want to have to deal with a smart slave. 

“I often found myself regretting my own existence and wishing myself dead;” 


(Q)(CL)(E) Why would he want to regret his own existence? But then again at the same time why wouldn’t he? I'm sure that there are plenty of other slaves that feel the exact same way. But what I do not understand is why he begins to feel this way when he is finally succeeding at reading and writing and getting a closer idea to escape and be free. 

“I had known what is was like to be kindly treated; they had known nothing of the kind.”


(C)(R) Right now he is feeling a lot of anxiety. He fears that he will be sent to become just like his fellow slaves, without any kindness around them. I believe that this situation allows Douglass to learn how his fellow slaves feel on a daily basis.  

“It had almost ruined me for every good purpose, and fitted me for everything which was bad.”


(P)(E) I have a feeling that the slave owners that have lots of land will not like Douglass because he is use to the “city life.” I think that he was extremely blessed to have been in the city life but now it is coming back to bite him in the butt because he became so accustomed to that type of life that the adjustment to his new master is extremely difficult. 

“My sufferings on this plantation seem now like a dream rather than a stern reality.” 


(R) He is at his lowest point in life, emotionally worn out. Earlier he mentioned that he was “broken in body, soul, and spirit.” If I were Fredrick Douglass at this point I too would feel broken. He has attempted to beat slavery so many times but now he seems to be in the worst of it. 



Comments (4)

Aurélie Wolf said

at 11:47 am on Aug 2, 2019

I have a hard time wrapping around it too and have similar questions.

Sharon Murchie said

at 10:49 am on Aug 7, 2019

This idea of the destruction of family will show up again and again this year in the African American lit we will read. Slavery broke connections between people by breaking families. We can't even imaging this kind of isolation, but slaves and descendants of slaves have never experienced family, the way we know it.

Lili Mohr said

at 10:59 am on Aug 13, 2019

This is very intriguing to me and it also raises some questions: how would our world and cultures be different if they has experienced family? Would it have been worse if they did experience a family because they would have more to lose?

Miranda Dunlap said

at 9:31 am on Aug 15, 2019

Lili, I had the same questions at first about why they sang during sadness because for most it’s the opposite. Most people sing when they have a really passionate feeling, and theirs is probably sadness 99% of the time. I also feel like the slaves probably never felt extreme happiness enough to break out in song while working. But it is still a weird concept to think about.

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