Focusing on the background of the torment and torture one slave had to go through had been brought to limelight multiple times. However this is a story or the narrative of a life of a slave which is nothing less than a mystery because it has been narrated with the highest amount of intensity and authenticity by a slave only. The slave is a self taught man who acquired the knowledge of both reading and writing with his own will power.
Fredrick Douglass who was born in Maryland was serving Harriet Bailey. Although coming from a white father with an unidentified origin yet it is uncertain whether he was his master or not. With the convention he was estranged from his mother that eventually led her mother to walk for twelve miles to see him at least once in the field. However when he was seven his mother passed away and he was in a state that stopped him from going to see his mother for the last time. Plummer is shown to whip the slaves regularly sometimes just to satisfy the ego. When Fredrick watches Aunt Hester to get tortured tremendously for continuous four hours it was for the first time he was exposed to such excruciating violence.
Certain crops were primarily irrigated in Auld’s plantation including corn and tobacco. Any kind of misbehaviour from the slaves was not entertained and the slaves were beaten mercilessly and sent to Baltimore for reselling forcefully. Only the provision of kind of filthy food was there and they were allowed have a set of cloth only once a year in which they could not spend the whole year. Sometimes the children had to survive naked. They had to survive with the coarse blankets instead of bed. They did not have time for entertainment or anything they wished for. They had to get up exactly at the moment when the siren was played as an indicator of the morning alarm. Mr. Severe was such a detested character who had no other job but beating the slaves and yelling at them. Ironically the slaves who were promoted to work in “Great House Farm” were considered to be extremely lucky. Northerners used to assume that the slaves sing songs to celebrate the joy they were residing in whereas Fredrick started understanding the agony and pain of the songs.
Colonel Lloyd was so inhuman that he used to put tar in front of the fences of his lawn so that he could protect the fruits from getting theft by the slaves and whenever any slave was caught with tar around their bodies were beaten without any justification. Old and Young Barney were utilized as examples because they were beaten by the Colonel often for no proper reason and explanations. This chapter is replete with more instances of the Colonel’s cruelty. The slaves had to fight against each other from different clans for their own masters.
When Gore is chosen to be the overseer of the farm he starts a new way of torturing the slaves. He would beat the slaves like anything and becomes so restless at times that he used to shoot the slaves if they would have taken much time to come out of water. Strangely shooting the slaves or taking away their lives was not a crime back then. It was almost similar to hunting a pig for the sake of fun. There are instance of killing of a slave occurs only because he was found in other farm. They took the proverb quite seriously that it just takes half a cent to make a nigger dead and the cost is same to buy a nigger.
Fredrick just with the shelter of a linen shirt touching his knees is left with no socks and shoes is so young that did not have to toil in the field rather he used to store the birds that Mater Daniel used to kill after shooting. Fredrick used to stay hungry and dry all the time. It was a ritual to serve the mush which is like porridge with boiled corn in a big bowl from where they had to eat it as fast as possible because the faster one was the lesser starved he was. Fredrick sets out for Baltimore excitedly because he had always wanted to visit the place. A change occurs in his life because he met Sophia who seemed to be extremely polite and really made him happy. He eventually started believing in fate.
Sophia kindly teaches Fredrick and respects all the slaves equally. Fredrick is taught with alphabets however Captain Auld warns her not to continue with that agenda because education would lead them to have the desire of freedom and that can eventually cause them trouble. It somehow happened to be true because the same thing was felt by Fredrick himself so he started exploring that there was more freedom in that place than that of the others although he had seen two slaves fighting against pig just for the sake of getting some food was unbelievable.
The journey of learning how to read and write was continued. The kindness of Sophia had to be checked. He was sent under a constant supervision like that of the Big Brother so that he could not invest his time in reading. While coming to Baltimore he befriended some white children who somehow helped him to read had the chance of freedom after 21 but he was enslaved for lifetime. While he got the opportunity to read Catholic Emancipation he started to show his increasing hatred for slavery because he was acquiring world view gradually. He got familiar with the world called abolition without knowing the meaning.
Fredrick had to leave Baltimore as soon as Captain Anthony died. He went to Lucretia but was again sent back there. Lucretia died after some days when he was forcefully owned by random stranger. His grandmother was not released from slavery and was rather compensated with a very tiny house and left secluded in the forest away from her people. While Fredrick went to Master Thomas he closely observed the route he took to St. Michael’s.
Since there was no certain provision for food the slaves had to beg. It is even clear from Auld’s pretention that h was not kind at all. Preachers were given plenty of food but the slaves remained hungry. More than a couple of meetings could violently disrupted the Sunday school. Fredrick became so desperate that he had to let loose the horse to go to another farm so that he could arrange some food for him.
While he went to Mr. Covey he saw how the slaves were tortured even brutally. He used to be whipped each time a week apparently for no reason. He dreamt of eloping quite a number of times. He received beating even when he fell sick. Hey could enjoy when holidays appeared. Since the root that could protect Covey from harm was kept in his pocket by Fredrick he became a little kind to him but also felt insecure as a slave breaker. He could absorb into the vibes of the hypocrisy that the whole business of slavery had offered.
Fredrick becomes completely eager to escape. He flourished with the idea of underground railway road. He came to the forefront in way that other slave owners became more aware. He went exhausted in passing on the money to the master. He did not fear to fail so he tried times and against to escape and finally stopped in New York. He could not empty himself from the thought of being caught. He got married to Anna and had settled into New Bedford and became self-employed and managed to speak against the slavery while implementing his education.