Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass | Study Guide

Frederick Douglass

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • c. 1818

    Douglass is born into slavery. His master and probable father is Captain Anthony.

    Chapter 1
  • 1824

    Douglass's mother dies. He is not particularly moved as he had seen her only a handful of times.

    Chapter 1
  • 1824

    Douglass is traumatized as he sees his Aunt Hester brutally whipped. Fearing he is next, he hides.

    Chapter 1
  • 1825

    Douglass is sent to Baltimore to serve Hugh and Sophia Auld.

    Chapter 5
  • 1825–1832

    Sophia Auld teaches Douglass the alphabet and to spell. He later teaches himself how to write.

    Chapter 6
  • January–July 1833

    Mr. Covey, a cruel slaveholder, whips and works Douglass so hard he considers suicide.

    Chapter 10
  • August 1833

    Douglass refuses to get whipped by Mr. Covey and fights back. He vows to never get whipped again.

    Chapter 10
  • 1834

    Douglass forms a secret Sunday school where he teaches slaves how to read.

    Chapter 10
  • 1835

    While readying to follow through on an escape plan, Douglass and four other slaves are arrested.

    Chapter 10
  • 1838-1841

    Douglass escapes slavery, joins the abolitionists, and speaks to audiences about slavery.

    Chapter 11

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface and Letter Preceding the text of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a preface by William Lloyd Garrison and a letter by... Read More
Chapter 1 Frederick Douglass begins the narrative by stating where he is from: Tuckahoe, in Talbot County, Maryland. Douglass note... Read More
Chapter 2 Douglass discusses Captain Anthony and his family. Captain Anthony is a superintendent on a plantation owned by Colonel ... Read More
Chapter 3 Colonel Lloyd has a beautiful garden on the plantation. People come to the plantation from all over to visit the garden.... Read More
Chapter 4 Kind Mr. Hopkins is released by Colonel Lloyd, and Mr. Gore takes over as the overseer at the Great House Farm. Douglass... Read More
Chapter 5 Douglass describes his own treatment while on Colonel Lloyd's plantation and notes it is similar to the way other slave ... Read More
Chapter 6 Douglass's initial assessment of Sophia Auld's character proves to be accurate. He is full of praise for her: "I was utt... Read More
Chapter 7 During Douglass's seven years with Hugh and Sophia Auld, he learns to read and write. This happens despite Sophia Auld's... Read More
Chapter 8 Chapter 8 moves backward in time, focusing on Douglass at age 10 or 11. His old master, Captain Anthony, has died and le... Read More
Chapter 9 Douglass is now permanently back on the plantation after more than seven years in Baltimore. The biggest challenge is th... Read More
Chapter 10 Douglass arrives at Mr. Covey's on January 1, 1833, to work as a field hand. Within a week, Mr. Covey whips him severely... Read More
Chapter 11 "I now come to that part of my life," Douglass writes, "during which I planned, and finally succeeded in making, my esca... Read More
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