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Karnataka 1st PUC English Textbook Answers Reflections Chapter 10 Frederick Douglass
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Frederick Douglass Questions and Answers, Notes, Summary
Frederick Douglass Comprehension I
What prevented the slaves from knowing their birthdays?
Who kept the slaves ignorant about their age, according to Frederick Douglass?
First of all, the slave masters preferred it that the black children didn’t know their date of birth. Secondly, the children were separated from their mothers as infants and hence lost the chance of getting information about their birth from their mothers.
How would the master look at the enquiries about the slaves’ birthday?
The master considered the enquiries improper and impertinent, and evidence of a restless spirit.
What was whispered about Douglass’ parentage?
It was whispered that Douglass’ master was his father.
When was Douglass separated from his mother?
When he was an infant.
Douglass’ mother was able to meet him only at ______
What was the penalty to the field hand for not being in the field at sunrise?
How old was Douglass when his mother died?
About seven years old.
Name the person who was believed to be both Douglass’ father and master.
What was Mr Plummer?
Frederick Douglass Comprehension II
Why wasn’t Douglass affected much by his mother’s death?
Why could not Frederick remember much about his mother?
The story of Douglass is the pitiable story of man’s cruelty scheming against the natural ways of nature. Douglass narrates to the readers as to how the selfish people who employed children as slaves systematically cut the children from their roots.
He knows that his mother was a black woman named Harriet Bailey from whom he was separated when he was an infant. He adds that it was the common custom in that part of Maryland that the children were thus separated from their mothers, hindering the natural bond between the mother and the child.
He had seen his mother only four or five times when she met him after walking twelve miles from Mr Stewart’s place where she worked as a field hand, and each of these times was very short in duration and at night. She had to be back in the field before the sunrise if she had to escape the penalty of whipping from the slave master. This left the mother and child very little time and scope for communication. She would lie down with him, and get him to sleep, but long before he woke she was gone. He does not remember having ever seen his mother by the light of the day. The sad outcome of this is that he does not remember much about his mother and when he lost her when he was around seven, he didn’t feel the usual emotions of sorrow.
This is a very sad outcome indeed when we consider the fact that the bond between a mother and a child is the strongest and the most beautiful bond of all and it is unnatural for the son not to feel grief at the loss of the mother. Douglass thus proves that the repercussions of serfdom are more than what meets the eye and the psychological dimensions are far worse than the economic implications.
Frederick Douglass Comprehension III
What kind of hardships did the slaves suffer at the hands of the slaveholder and his mistress?
What were the difficulties faced by mulatto children?
As mulatto children, what wrath did the black slaves incur of their white mistress?
The mistress always found fault with the slaves, particularly the mulatto children, and ensured that they came under the lash. Whenever she suspected her husband of showing extra favours to his mulatto children which he withheld from other black slaves, her anger was even more and she compelled her husband to sell this class of slaves. If he didn’t, the master had to whip such slaves himself or see one of his sons tie up and beat up his brother. Thus we see that the slaves suffered unbearable hardships at the hands of the slaveholder and his mistress, and if the master happened to be the father of the slave, the plight of such a slave was even worse.
How does the passage comment on the dreadful experience of slavery?
Describe Frederick Douglass’s experiences as a slave.
The dreadful experience of slavery starts the very minute a child is born. The child is separated from the mother in its infancy, breaking the bond between the mother and the child. Even after that, the mother is not allowed to meet the child often, and this again goes against the possibility of establishing an emotional bond. The child has to suffer the psychological impact of not knowing who the father is. Worse still are the whispers and speculations about who the possible father is. These emotional problems are compounded with physical harassment. The slaves are constantly whipped by not only their slave masters but also others such as overseers and the slave master’s white children.
The women are in an even worse situation. We can see that they are used by white men to fulfil their lust. Their plight as field hands is pitiable. They can move out only after nightfall and have to be back at work at dawn unless they have permission from their masters. The fact remains that their cruel masters do not easily give them such liberty. The references to the women who have had their heads slashed and body completely bruised with the beatings given with the cow skin are a testimony to the inhuman treatment meted out to the slaves by their masters.
Thus, the lesson, which is a first-hand narration of Frederick Douglass, makes the readers aware of the heart-wrenching plight of the slaves.
In spite of the hardships he suffered as a slave, why does the author say, “slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace”?
The author comes out as an optimist who, in spite of horrible hardships, still has the hope of coming out of the bondage of slavery. He thanks God for giving him this tenacity. But, we can see that it is the inner strength of the speaker who opposes the injustice of not only his state but also the plight of all slaves. Being a witness to the tragic plight of his mother and the horrible state of his aunt must have strengthened his resolve to come out of the noose of slavery. It is because of such people who fought against all odds that the slaves got freedom from serfdom.
Frederick Douglass Additional Questions and Answers
I. Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each:
Where was Frederick Douglass born?
Douglass was born in Maryland.
Who was Frederick Douglass’s mother?
Who was rumoured to be Douglass’s father?
A white man who was the master of Douglass was rumoured to be his father.
How did Douglass feel when he heard of his mother’s death?
Douglass received the news of his mother’s death with the same emotion as he would have probably felt on knowing about the death of a stranger.
Who was Plummer?
Who was the overseer of Captain Anthony?
Mr Plummer was the overseer of Captain Anthony.
Who was a savage monster, according to Frederick Douglass?
Mr Plummer was a miserable drunkard, a profane swearer and a savage monster, according to Frederick Douglass.
Who was Frederick’s first master?
What did the slave owner do to keep the baby slaves on his farm?
Mention one of the reasons given by Douglass for the separation of children from their mothers.
He separated the child from the mother in its infancy and blunted the natural affection of the mother for the child.
According to Douglass, why were the child and its mother separated by their masters?
To hinder the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt the natural affection of the mother for the child.
Question 10..Who was considered a ‘constant offence’ to the slaveholder’s mistress?
The mulatto Answer:
Who had hired Frederick Douglass’s mother as a slave on his farm?
What was a source of unhappiness to Douglass during his childhood?
That he did not know how old he was.
What distance did Frederick’s mother cover on foot to see him?
How far did Frederick Douglass’s mother walk to meet him?
A distance of twelve miles, which meant walking 24 miles.
Why is a slaveholder compelled to sell his mulatto children, according to Douglass?
To please his wife and also to avoid whipping them himself or see his white son whipping them.
What is referred to as ‘foul embrace’ by Douglass?
What sustained Douglass during the darkest hours of slavery?
The good spirit that he received from God.
What authentic record has Frederick Douglass never seen in his life?
Frederick Douglass has never seen any authentic record of his age in his life.
What were the slave children ignorant of?
The slave children were ignorant of their ages.
How did the slaves remember their birthdays?
The slaves remembered their birthdays by recalling a day that was nearer to seasonal events like planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time or fall-time.
According to Frederick Douglass, _____ children could tell their ages accurately.
(c) both a and b.
How old was Frederick Douglass in 1835?
Frederick Douglass was about seventeen years old in 1835.
The child with a black mother and a white father is referred to as _______
Where did Frederick Douglass run away from, to escape slavery?
Frederick Douglass ran away from Baltimore to New York City to escape slavery.
Whose daughter was Harriet Bailey?
Frederick Douglass’ mother Harriet Bailey was the daughter of Isaac and Betsey Bailey.
How many slaves did Captain Anthony possess?
Captain Anthony possessed about thirty slaves.
Write one of the things that sustained Douglass during the darkest hours of slavery.
One of the things that sustained Douglass during the darkest hours of slavery was his deep conviction and spirit of hope that he would certainly come out of slavery someday.
II. Answer the following questions in 80 – 100 words each:
Why were the slaves kept ignorant from knowing their birth dates?
The white masters want their slaves to be totally ignorant of their parentage. They hide their date of birth and seal the prospects of the slave children knowing who their fathers are. The slave children seldom come nearer to their birthday than planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring¬time, or fall-time. It is as if the society of the whites has a conspiracy of emotionally depriving the black children of a sense of belonging. The slave children cannot cling to any root and are forced to be with their masters. This ploy on the part of the white masters must have been to ensure that the slave children grew up with no self-confidence. Such a meek existence would ensure that the children .did not rebel against the injustice meted out to them in any way.
Write a note on the cruelty of Mr Plummer.
Give instances to show the ruthlessness of Mr Plummer.
Why does Douglass say that Mr Plummer was a savage monster?
Mr Plummer was so ruthless that Captain Anthony, who himself was a cruel slaveholder, was enraged by the cruelty of Plummer. Mr Plummer, as the overseer, was in charge of the farm and the slaves and exploited the situation fully to torment the slaves. He went around with not only the cowskin but also a heavy cudgel and cut and slashed women’s heads horribly. Mr Plummer comes out as a man who took sadistic pleasure in hurting others.
Why is the slaveholder compelled to sell his mulatto children, according to Douglass?
Frederick Douglass was a mulatto child. Children who have one black and one white parent are called mulatto children. Such mulatto children are born to white slaveholders who very often keep their black women slaves as their mistresses.
According to Frederick Douglass, such slaveholders are compelled to sell their mulatto children because such slaves invariably suffer greater hardships than others. They are a constant offence to their white mistress (wife of the white master). She is ever disposed to find fault with them; they can seldom do anything to please her; she is never better pleased than when she sees them under the lash, especially when she suspects her husband of showing to his mulatto children favours which he withholds from his black slaves. Consequently, the master is frequently compelled to sell his mulatto slaves for two reasons – out of deference to the feelings of his white wife as well as on humanitarian grounds. If he does not do so, he would be forced to not only whip them himself but must also stand by and see a white son tie up his brother, who is of a few shades darker complexion than himself, and ply the gory lash to his naked back.
III. Answer the following questions in 200 words each:
What does Douglass regret in his memories of his parents?
What qualities does Douglass associated with memories of his mother? Why wasn’t be able to live with her?
Why could not Frederick Douglass remember much about his mother?
What does Frederick Douglass tell about his mother in ‘Frederick Douglass’?
What are the memories of Frederick Douglass about his mother?
The strong sense of regret lies in the fact that he did not know who his father was and that he was separated from his mother as an infant. What makes the situation worse is that there is the common speculation that his father is a white man, and that his master is his father. He knows that his mother was a black woman named Harriet Bailey from whom he was separated because it was the common custom in that part of Maryland that the children were thus separated from their mothers, hindering the natural bond between the mother and the child. He had seen his mother only four or five times when she met him after walking twelve miles from Mr Stewart’s place where she worked as the field hand.
She had to be back in the field before the sunrise if she had to escape the penalty of whipping from the slave master. This left the mother and child very little time and scope for communication. The sad outcome of this is that when he lost her when he was around seven, he didn’t feel the usual emotions of sorrow. The sudden death of the mother put an end to whatever chance the author had of knowing who his father was. Thus, we see that a slave child is an emotionally deprived child.
Describe the sufferings of the slaves in the hands of the whites.
The dreadful experience of slavery starts the very minute a child is born. The child is separated from the mother in its infancy, breaking the bond between the mother and the child. Even after the mother is not allowed to meet the child often, and this again goes against the possibility of establishing an emotional bond. The child has to suffer the psychological impact of not knowing who the father is. Worse still are the whispers and speculations about who the possible father is. These emotional problems are compounded with physical harassment. The slaves are constantly whipped by not only their slave masters but also others such as overseers and the slave master’s white children. Those slaves who are mulatto children of the white master face worse problems because their white master’s wife becomes their arch enemy. Suspecting her husband’s favouritism towards his mulatto children, the wife pressurises the master to sell these slaves.
The women are in an even worse situation. We can see that they are used by white men to fulfil their lust. Their plight as field hands is pitiable. They can move out only after nightfall and have to be back at work at dawn unless they have permission from their masters. The fact remains that their cruel masters do not easily give them such liberty. The references to the women who have had their heads slashed and body completely bruised with the beatings given with the cow skin are a testimony to the inhuman treatment meted out to the slaves by their white masters.
Thus, the lesson, which is a first-hand narration of Frederick Douglass, makes the readers aware of the heart-wrenching plight of the slaves.
In spite of all the hardships faced, Frederick Douglass overcame it through his grit and determination. Elaborate.
‘Frederick Douglass’ is an excerpt from the autobiography of an American slave named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, born in Talbot country, Maryland, U.S.A. It presents the feelings of a slave child and incidentally gives an insight into the trauma of slave children. The slave children are kept ignorant of their age and date of birth. Most of them could only recall their birthdays if they were born on any day nearer to the usual seasons in a year like – planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time or fall-time. The writer says that he used to feel unhappy for being discriminated against; the white children could tell their ages, the black children were not allowed to make any inquiries about it.
The slave children were separated from their mothers at an early age and were deprived of their birthright to be nurtured by their mothers. This was done with the intention of hindering the development of the child’s affection towards its mother as well as to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child.
The writer tells us how his mother used to travel miles, to and fro, on foot just to be with her child in the night and would be gone when he woke up in the morning. In a matter of fact tone, he tells the reader that there was little communication between him and his mother since she died when he was seven years old. He was not allowed to be with her either during illness or at death or burial. He tells us that he never got to enjoy her soothing presence and her tender and watchful care. Consequently, the news of her death did not stir any feelings in him at all.
The slaveholders abused women slaves for pleasure as well as profit. Their white masters had many black mistresses and the children born to them were called mulatto children. These mulatto children were always a source of displeasure to the white wives (mistresses) of their masters, if a white mistress suspected that her husband was favouring his mulatto children, she would find fault with the children and get them whipped or lashed. Therefore, in order to escape such situations, their masters used to sell their own children to other slaveholders. The writer expresses his conviction that slavery can never kill his faith and optimism. He tells us that ‘hope’ remained in his heart like ministering angels and cheered him through the gloom.
In the foregoing account of his early childhood, we learn how Frederick Douglass grew up like other slave children. However, his firm conviction and faith in his strength of will that he should extricate himself from the world of slavery, gave him the motivation and courage to escape slavery and flee to New York City where he made it bold to work as a member of the Anti-Slavery Society and worked for the emancipation of slaves through his speeches and writings.
The details given by Frederick Douglass about the life of slaves depict the painful and harsh experiences of the slaves. Do you agree ? Give reasons for your answer.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was an. American slave, born in Talbot County, Maryland. He escaped slavery and went to New York, where he changed his name to Frederick Douglass and worked for the emancipation of slaves until his death.
This lesson is an excerpt from his autobiography and presents a graphic account of the cruel and inhuman suffering of the slaves. The slaves lived a very painful and miserable life in the custody of their slave masters. No slave had any accurate knowledge of his age because their slave masters never maintained an authentic record of the dates of birth of the slaves in their custody because they wanted to keep the slaves ignorant about their age. Consequently, the slaves were able to only recall a day nearer a season of the year like planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time or fall-time.
Frederick narrates the circumstances of his birth and a few details about his parentage. Frederick was a mulatto child born to a white father and a black mother. His mother was a slave and his father was his master. As was the common custom in those days, Frederick, the infant, was separated from his mother even when he was an infant, not even twelve months old and was placed under the care of an old woman, too old for field labour. In such instances, the mother was taken away from the child and hired out on some farm a considerable distance off.
Frederick says that he does not remember to have seen his mother not more than five times in his life and each of these times was very short in duration and at night. His mother was hired by Mr Stewart, who lived about twelve miles from his home. She used to go to Frederick’s house in the night travelling on foot, lie down with her child, get him to sleep and would go back to her master’s house before dawn. His mother died when he was about seven years old. Frederick was not allowed to be present during her illness and at her death or burial.
Frederick narrates another cruel and barbarous practice. The slaveholders had made a rule that the children of slave women irrespective of whether they were born to white or black fathers, should in all cases follow the condition of their mothers. This gave the slaveholders opportunities to not merely gratify their lustful desires but also make a profit out of it.
Frederick says that mulatto children, despite being born to white fathers, suffered greater hardships than black slave children born to black parents, because mulatto children were a constant source of offence and displeasure to their white mistresses. It was common for the wives of white masters to find fault with mulatto children. They would be normally happy to see mulatto children lashed especially when they suspected that their husbands were showing special favours to his mulatto children. This being the fact, many white masters used to sell their mulatto slaves only out of sympathy for them so that they would be spared the trouble of whipping their own children or stand by and watch one white son tie up his brother and lash him with a whip.
Frederick narrates an incident which highlights how in human and cruel slave masters were. Frederick Douglass had two masters – Captain Anthony and his overseer Mr Plummer whom he describes as a miserable drunkard, a profane swearer and a savage monster. He used to take sadistic pleasure in whipping a slave’. Frederick recalls how, once he saw his own aunt, a slave tied to a joist being whipped on her naked back till she was literally covered with blood.
Thus, Frederick Douglass’ autobiography depicts the painful and harsh experiences of the slaves.
Frederick Douglass Vocabulary
A phrasal verb is the combination of a verb + a particle (preposition or adverb) resulting in a new word. The new unit gives a meaning different from the two separate words.
Use the verbs in column A with the right prepositional particles in column B to form as many phrasal verbs as possible. Find out the meanings with the help of a dictionary and make your own sentences.
|act, ask, break, bail, call, drop, look, pick, lock, check, keep, make, run, settle, step, put, walk, turn, carry, fall, let, hang, cut, come, take.
|in, on, out, off, down, up, through, around
Example: act out, make out, walk-in, step up.
- Act – act on, act out, act up.
- Ask – ask around, ask in, ask out.
- Break – break down, break-in, break off, break out, breakthrough, break up. Bail – bailout.
- Call – call down on, call in, call off, call on, call out, call up.
- Drop – drop-in, drop off, drop out.
- Look – look around, look down, look down on, look in, look on, look out, look out for, look through, look up, look up to.
- Pick – pick off, pick on, pick out, pick through, pick up.
- Lock – lock-in, lockout, lock up.
- Check – check-in, check off, check on, check out, check through, check-up, check upon.
- Keep – keep down, keep in, keep off, keep on, keep out, keep up.
- Make – make out, makeup, make up for.
- Run – run around, run-down, runoff, run on, run but, run through, run up against.
- Settle – settle down, settle in, settle on, settle up.
- Step – step down, step in, step on, step out, step up.
- Put – put around, put down, put in, put off, put on, put out, put through, put up to, put up with. Walk – walk in on, walk-
- off, walk out, walkthrough, walk up.
- Turn – turn around, turn down, turn in, turn off, turn on, turn out, turn up.
- Carry – carry off, carry on, carry out, carry through.
- Fall – fall down, fall in, fall off, fall on, fall out, fall through.
- Let – let down, let in, let off, let out, let through, let up.
- Hang – hang around, hang in, hang on, hang out, hang up.
- Cut – cut down, cut in, cut off, cut out, cut through, cut up.
- Come – come around, come down, come in, come in for, come off, come on, come out, come through, come up, come up with.
- Take – takedown, take in, take off, take on, take out, take out on, take up.
A few phrasal verbs are used in sentences below:
- The artiste acted out the trauma of modern man effectively, (to represent in action)
- Seetha broke down on getting the news of her father’s illness, (lost control over her emotions and cried)
- The government has already bailed the project out once before, (to help a person or organisation that is having problems, especially financial problems)
- The union has called off the strike. (cancelled)
- Tomorrow will be a busy day as my friend’s family will drop in. (visit)
- I looked the word up in a dictionary, (searched for the meaning)
- My father picks me up every day from college, (takes me home in a vehicle)
Frederick Douglass An Excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Frederick Douglass Summary in English
‘Frederick Douglass’ is an autobiographical piece about the life of an American slave. The piece brings to us the gory details of the ill-treatment meted out to the slaves by their white masters. The author begins with references to his birth in Tuckahoe. Ironically, he is not able to say when exactly he was born. He adds that this ambiguity about the age was the lot of all slaves as their masters hid this piece of information from them. The author, who is unhappy over his ignorance about his date of birth, states that he must be either twenty-seven or twenty-eight, going by what his master had said about his age ten years ago.
The speaker’s ignorance is not limited to his age alone. He doesn’t know who his father is though the common speculation is that his father is a white man. He knows that his mother was a black woman named Harriet Bailey from whom he was separated when he was an infant. He adds that it was the common custom in that part of Maryland that the children were thus separated from their mothers, hindering the natural bond between the mother and the child.
He had seen his mother only four or five times when she met him after walking twelve miles from Mr Stewart’s place where she worked as the field hand. She had to be back in the field before the sunrise if she had to escape the penalty of whipping from the slave master. This left the mother and child very little time and scope for communication. The sad outcome of this is that when he lost her when he was around seven, he didn’t feel the usual emotions of sorrow.
The sudden death of the mother put an end to whatever chance the author had of knowing who his father was. He cannot be sure at all whether his slave master was his father also, though there were rumours to that effect. But, the prospect of the slave masters being the fathers was not of any relief to the children because such children were under the constant scrutiny of the wives of such slave masters. Such slave masters went to the extent of selling these children to flesh traders to please their white wives. If they didn’t do this, they had to either whip their own black children or see their white sons whip their black brothers. Any sign of disapproval by the white man at the gory acts of the white sons made matters worse for both the slave masters and their black children.
The author shares with his readers his experiences with one of his two masters – Captain Anthony by name. If the master himself was cruel, his overseer-Mr. Plummer-was even crueller. The author places before the readers the bloody details of the master whipping an aunt of his with cowskin until he was too tired to continue whipping her. Mr Plummer, on his part, went around with not only the cowskin but also a heavy cudgel and cut and slashed women’s heads horribly.
Despite all these hardships, the author had the optimism of coming out of slavery and he thanks God for giving him this hope and cheerfulness as a youngster.
Frederick Douglass Summary in Kannada
- Tuckahoe, Hillsborough, Easton, Talbot County, Maryland: Places in the south of the U.S.A
- cowskin (n): a whip made of raw cow-hide
- cudgel (n): a short, thick stick of wood
- joist (n): a long, thick piece of wood, steel or concrete which is used in buildings to support a floor or ceiling
- slaveholder (n): the white owner of slaves
- mulatto (n): a person with one black parent and one white parent
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