The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

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The Narrative of Frederick Douglass Characters

Frederick Douglass

Douglass, the Narrative’s author and protagonist, was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland, to a woman named Harriet Bailey. His father was an unknown white man who may have been his master. Douglass… (read full character analysis)

Hugh Auld

The brother of Thomas Auld. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, Sophia Auld. Douglass comes to work for Hugh when he is fairly young. Hugh prevents his wife from teaching Douglass to… (read full character analysis)

Edward Covey

A farmer renowned for his ability to “break” disobedient slaves. He cannot afford to own many slaves himself, so other masters will lease him their slaves in exchange for him “breaking” them. Covey uses deceit… (read full character analysis)

Sandy Jenkins

A slave who works with Douglass. He briefly takes Douglass in after Douglass flees Covey’s farm. Sandy also gives Douglass a special root, which he superstitiously believes will protect Douglass from being harmed by… (read full character analysis)

Captain Thomas Auld

– Thomas, the husband of Lucretia Auld, is a very cruel owner who puts on airs because he hasn’t owned slaves from birth. Douglass lives with him after his first stint in Baltimore; by… (read full character analysis)
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Betsy Bailey

Douglass’s grandmother. She raised Douglass because his mother was sold away. She spent her entire life working for Captain Anthony and his family. Douglass is indignant when he hears that after Anthony’s death, Betsy… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Sophia Auld
Hugh Auld’s wife. She is initially kind and generous to Douglass. However, once her husband forces her to stop teaching Douglass to read and write, her power over Douglass starts to corrupt her. She becomes cruel and begins to actively thwart Douglass’s attempts to educate himself.
Colonel Edward Lloyd
Anthony’s employer. He is exceedingly wealthy, and owns hundreds of slaves on a number of farms; his personal homestead is called the “Great House Farm.” Lloyd is unfair to his slaves, particularly Old Barney and Young Barney, who work in his stable.
Captain Anthony
– Captain Anthony, so called because he used to captain ships in the Chesapeake, is Douglass’s first owner. Anthony is a superintendent for Colonel Edward Lloyd, and his family lives on Lloyd’s property. Douglass’s first experience of the horrors of slavery was watching Anthony brutally whip Douglass’s Aunt Hester.
Aunt Hester
Douglass’s aunt. Watching Captain Anthony whip her for associating with another man stands out to Douglass as his first encounter with the cruelty of slavery.
Harriet Bailey
Douglass’s mother. He was separated from her very early on, and Douglass only sees her a handful of times in his life. Douglass laments that he never felt very attached to her.
Austin Gore
One of Colonel Lloyd’s overseers. He is exceedingly cruel, and his murder of Demby illustrates whites’ ability to kill blacks with impunity.
Mr. Severe
The first of Colonel Lloyd’s overseers that Douglass remembers. Like his name suggests, he treats slaves poorly, and the slaves are relieved when he dies.
Old Barney and Young Barney
This father-and-son pair is in charge of the upkeep of Colonel Lloyd’s stable. Lloyd has unreasonable expectations for the two slaves, and holds them accountable for problems that they cannot control. The Barneys symbolize slaves’ inability to speak truthfully or in their own defense without being punished.
Lucretia Auld
– The daughter of Captain Anthony, married to Captain Thomas Auld. After Anthony dies, Douglass is passed on to her. Fairly soon after inheriting Douglass, Lucretia herself dies.
William Freeland
Douglass is leased to Freeland for two years after spending a year with Covey. Freeland is Douglass’s most evenhanded master.
William Hamilton
The father of Thomas Auld’s second wife, Rowena Hamilton. William Hamilton captures Douglass before he attempts his escape from Freeland.
Rowena Hamilton
Thomas Auld’s second wife, whom he marries after Lucretia Auld’s death.
William Gardner
The first shipbuilder to whom Douglass is apprenticed in Baltimore. His shipyard is too busy for Douglass to learn any skills.
Nathan Johnson
An abolitionist who helps get Douglass and Anna settled in Massachusetts. Douglass honors him by letting him choose Douglass’s last name.
Anna Murray
– The free black woman that Douglass marries in New York after escaping bondage.
David Ruggles
A black New Yorker, journalist, and abolitionist who helps Douglass get on his feet after his escape from slavery.