Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Plot Diagram

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Plot Diagram
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Lesson Plans by Bridget Baudinet

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was written by Frederick Douglass himself and published in 1845. Over 250 years later, the narrative still remains a powerful work, both for the vivid window it provides on the practice of slavery in the American South and for its eloquent defense of human rights.




Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Plot Diagram & Summary

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  • EXPOSITION
  • CONFLICT
  • RISING ACTION
  • That's the letter A, Fred. It says "ah".
  • Douglass is born sometime around 1818 and grows up as a slave on a cruel plantation in Maryland. He sees his mother a handful of times before she dies, and he grows up hungry, cold, and unloved.
  • CLIMAX
  • Douglass is enslaved for life and becomes increasingly unhappy about this reality.
  • FALLING ACTION
  • At a young age. Douglass is transferred to the family of Hugh Auld in Baltimore where he learns to read and develops a hatred of slavery. Due to a series of deaths and inheritances, Douglass is moved back and forth between Baltimore and various other locations, eventually ending up under the ownership of Thomas Auld in St. Michael’s, Maryland.
  • RESOLUTION
  • The turning point in Douglass's life occurs when he fights back against the vicious slave breaker Edward Covey. By standing up for himself, Douglass gains a sense of self-respect and an increased desire for freedom.
  • Douglass plans to escape from Mr. Freeland, but is betrayed and imprisoned. Eventually he ends up back with Hugh Auld in Baltimore. Here, he works as a ship caulker and earns a small amount of money he hopes to use in a second escape attempt.
  • Eventually, in 1838, Douglass succeeds in escaping to New York City. He marries Anna Murray, a free woman who followed him north from Baltimore, and begins his life as a free man.
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