Frederick Douglass's Narrative acts as a protest literature against slavery. It reveals how he transformed from a slave to a man. Throughout the narrative, Frederick Douglass provides various examples of the ways he manages to gain literacy skills. Frederick Douglass makes it his goal to learn as much as he can, gradually learning how to read and write, his knowledge was his passport to becoming a free man. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Tuckahoe, Maryland in 1818. His original name was Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He was the son of a slave name Harriet Bailey, and his father was a white man who he never knew, or met before. When he was an infant, Douglass and his mother were separated. He never knew her as his mother because at an early age they separate children from their mothers which usually happens before the child becomes one year old. His mother made her way to see him only at night by traveling on foot. His mother soon died and Frederick Douglass was not able to be there for her sickness, her death, and the burial. His mother died long before he known about it.
Frederick Douglass lived with his grandmother in a Maryland Plantation until he was eight years old. He worked as a house servant and then became a field hand. Throughout his life, Douglass did not know his exact age. He tried to obtain information but far as he knew, it was never recorded. Unlike most African Americans, Frederick Douglass taught himself how to read and write along the way. In the South, slaves had very few opportunities to learn to read and write. Mr. Covey sent Frederick Douglass to do a job that he had never done before and he expected him to do it right. When Frederick Douglass returned with the job not being done Mr. Covey whipped him. Being a man, Frederick Douglass taught himself to protect himself from harm. The fight between him and Mr. Covey shows that Douglass' fought to gain freedom and also a fight to gain a selfhood, to be a man.