Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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1 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Dialectical Journal This journal will be worth BOTH a quiz and a test grade. It is your responsibility to read the chapters and write in your journals if you miss class for any reason.

2 Instructions This dialectical journal will count as NO LESS than a quiz assignment and a test grade. Be prepared to submit 12 completed entries for a quiz grade, and your top 6 picks for a test grade. Remember, regardless of any excused/unexcused absences or field trips, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for completing each journal entry. Access a PDF copy of Frederick Douglass narrative at: Each journal entry should be no LESS than 250 words to receive a full grade. If you need to, count the words and write them at the end of the response. Your critical thinking is going to be challenged, so think deeply and write in depth over each prompt. Remember, 5-7 sentences minimum make for a comprehensive and effective paragraph.

3 Chapter 1 Reread the following excerpt from the end of Chapter 1 of the narrative. Connect Douglass experience to any situation where you have felt or witnessed social injustice in your own life. I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rendering shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder he screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin. I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition. I was quite a child, but I well remember it. I never shall forget it whilst I remember any thing. It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant. It struck me with awful force. It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass. It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it (Douglass 20).

4 Chapter 2 Reread the following excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 2 of the narrative. What are the negative effects of a person receiving the minimum (money, food, housing, clothing, love, friendship)? Think of current events when composing your response. Here, too, the slaves of all the other farms received their monthly allowance of food, and their yearly clothing. The men and women slave received, as their monthly allowance of food, eight pounds of pork, or its equivalent in fish, and one bushel of corn meal. Their yearly clothing consisted of two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like the shirts, one jacket, one pair of trousers for winter, made of coarse negro cloth, one pair of stockings, and one pair of shoes; the whole of which could not have cost more than seven dollars. The allowance of the slave children was given to their mothers, or the old women having the care of them. The children unable to work in the field had neither shoes, stockings, jackets, nor trousers, given to them; their clothing consisted of two coarse linen shirts per year. When these failed them, they went naked until the next allowance-day. Children from seven to ten years old, of both sexes, almost naked, might be seen at all seasons of the year (Douglass 23).

5 Chapter 3 Reread the following excerpt from the end of Chapter 3 of the narrative. Think about this: are your merit and self-worth based on the reputation of those around you When Colonel Lloyd s slaves met the slaves of Jacob Jepson, they seldom parted without a quarrel about their masters; Colonel Lloyd s slaves contending that he was the richest, and Mr. Jepson s slaves that he was the smartest, and most of a man. Colonel Lloyd s slaves would boast his ability to buy and sell Jacob Jepson. Mr. Jepson s slaves would boast his ability to whip Colonel Lloyd. These quarrels would almost always end in a fight between the parties, and those that whipped were supposed to have gained the point at issue. They seemed to think that the greatness of their masters was transferrable to themselves. It was considered as being bad enough a slave; but to be a poor man s slave was deemed a disgrace indeed! (Douglass 31).

6 Chapter 4 Reread the excerpt and explain why you do, or why you do not think that justice is always fair. Connect your answer with a recent event. A thrill of horror flashed through every soul upon the plantation, excepting Mr. Gore. He alone seemed cold and collected. He was asked by Colonel Lloyd and my old master, why he resorted [murdering Demby the way he did]. His reply was, (as well as I can remember,) that Demby had become unmanageable. He was setting a dangerous example to the other slaves,-- one which, if suffered to pass without some demonstration on his part, would finally lead to the total subversion of all rule and order upon the plantation. He argued that if one slave refused to be corrected, and escaped with his life, the other slaves would soon copy the example; the result of which would be, the freedom of the slaves, and the enslavement of the whites Mr. Gore s defense was satisfactory. He was continued in his station as overseer upon the home plantation His horrid crime was not even submitted to judicial investigation (Douglass 33).

7 Chapter 5 Reread the following excerpt from Chapter 5. Explain a how a change of environment has the power to affect you. I look upon my departure from Colonel Lloyd s plantation as one probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being removed from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of home, writing this Narrative, been confined in the galling chains of slavery. Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity. I have ever regarded it as the first plain manifestation of that kind providence which has ever since attended me, and marked my life with so many favors. I regarded the selection of myself as being somewhat remarkable. There were a number of slave children that might have been sent from the plantation to Baltimore. There were those younger, those older, and those of the same age. I was chosen from among them all, and was the first, last, and only choice (Douglass 39).

8 Chapter 6 Reread the following excerpt from the end of Chapter 4. Reread the excerpt and explain why you do, or why you do not think that justice is always fair. Connect your answer with a recent event. A thrill of horror flashed through every soul upon the plantation, excepting Mr. Gore. He alone seemed cold and collected. He was asked by Colonel Lloyd and my old master, why he resorted [murdering Demby the way he did]. His reply was, (as well as I can remember,) that Demby had become unmanageable. He was setting a dangerous example to the other slaves,-- one which, if suffered to pass without some demonstration on his part, would finally lead to the total subversion of all rule and order upon the plantation. He argued that if one slave refused to be corrected, and escaped with his life, the other slaves would soon copy the example; the result of which would be, the freedom of the slaves, and the enslavement of the whites. Mr. Gore s defense was satisfactory. He was continued in his station as overseer upon the home plantation His horrid crime was not even submitted to judicial investigation (Douglass 33).

9 Chapter 7 Explain how peer pressure can change you. Write about a personal experience as an example. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamb-like disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness. The first step in her downward course was in her ceasing to instruct me. She now commenced to practice her husband s precepts. She finally became more violent in her opposition than her husband himself. She was not satisfied with simply doing as well as he had commanded; she seemed anxious to do better (Douglass 45).

10 Chapter 8 Why is it important to respect our elders? Think about different cultures and societies and the way their elders are treated versus the United States. If any one thing in my experience, more than another, served to deepen my conviction of the infernal character of slavery, and to fill me with unutterable loathing of the slaveholders, it was their base ingratitude to my poor old grandmother. She had served my old master faithfully from youth to old age. She had been the source of all his wealth; she had peopled his plantation with slaves; she had become a great grandmother in his service She was nevertheless left a slave a slave for life a slave in the hands of strangers; and in their hands she saw her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, divided, like so many sheep, without being gratified with the small privilege of a single word, as to their or her own destiny (Douglass 51).

11 Chapter 9 Think about a time when someone has used religion as a justification for his or her actions regardless of whether he or she was right in doing so. I have said that my master found religious sanction for his cruelty. As an example, I will state one of many facts going to prove the charge. I have seen him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cowskin upon her naked shoulders, causing the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification, of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture. He that knoweth his master s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes Master Thomas was one of the many pious slaveholders who hold slaves for the very charitable purpose of taking care of them (Douglass 57).

12 Chapter 10 After reading the fight scene between Frederick Douglass and Mr. Covey, when do you feel like it is acceptable to stand up to authority? But Just as he was leaning over to get the stick, I seized him with both hands by his collar, and brought him by a sudden snatch to the ground We were at it for nearly two hours. Covey at length let me go, puffing and blowing a great rate, saying that if I had not resisted, he would not have whipped me at all. I considered him as getting entirely the worst end of the bargain; for he had drawn no blood from me, but I had from him. The whole six months afterwards, that I spent with Mr. Covey, he never laid the weight of his finger upon me in anger. He would occasionally say, he didn t want to get hold of me again. No, thought I, you need not; for you will come off worse than you did before (Douglass 69).

13 Chapter 11 Sometimes, change can be gradual or different. How will you respond when your happy ending isn t immediate? It was a most painful situation; and, to understand it, one must needs experience it, or imagine himself in similar circumstances. Let him be a fugitive slave in a strange land a land given up to be the hunting-ground for slaveholders whose inhabitants are legalized kidnappers where he is every moment subjected to the terrible liability of being seized upon his prey! I say, let him place himself in my situation without home or friends without money or credit wanting shelter, and no one to give it wanting bread, and no money to buy it, and at the same time let him feel that he is pursued by merciless men-hunters, and in total darkness as to what to do, where to go, or where to stay, perfectly helpless both as to the means of defense and means of escape (Douglass 93).

14 Free After reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, pick one passage besides any previously listed in this packet to respond to. Include the text, parenthetical documentation, and why this passage stands out to you.

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