The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

Edward Covey Character Analysis

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 to ensure that slaves are fearful and hardworking. Thomas Auld sends Douglass to work for him for a year because Douglass is difficult to control. Douglass’s first six months with Covey are miserable, but Douglass then stands up to Covey and is never whipped again.

Edward Covey Quotes in The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

The The Narrative of Frederick Douglass quotes below are all either spoken by Edward Covey or refer to Edward Covey. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Narrative of Frederick Douglass published in 1995.
Chapter 10 Quotes

“If at any one time of my life more than another, I was made to drink the bitterest dregs of slavery, that time was during the first six months of my stay with Mr. Covey…I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!”

Related Characters: Frederick Douglass (speaker), Edward Covey
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Narrative of Frederick Douglass quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

“This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood…My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me.”

Related Characters: Frederick Douglass (speaker), Edward Covey
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Narrative of Frederick... LitChart as a printable PDF.
The narrative of frederick douglass.pdf.medium

Edward Covey Character Timeline in The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

The timeline below shows where the character Edward Covey appears in The Narrative of Frederick Douglass. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
...whippings fail. Thomas decides to lend Douglass for a year to a farmer named Edward Covey, who is known for his ability to break slaves. Douglass is once again glad to... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...January 1st, 1833, Douglass leaves Master Thomas’s to work as a field hand for Mr. Covey. Douglass’s city upbringing makes him unfit for this labor. In the first few days, Covey... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
During Douglass’s first six months living with Covey, he was whipped roughly once a week. Covey works his slaves from before dawn till... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Covey’s sinister powers of deception also extend into his religious practice. He prays frequently, but only... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
Covey is a poor man, who can only afford to own one slave (he “rents” the... (full context)
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Douglass is broken by his six months with Covey. He is forced to work in every weather condition, no matter how hot or cold.... (full context)
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Covey’s house is on the Chesapeake Bay, and Douglass’s regular sight of the far-ranging ships in... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
While fanning wheat for Covey in August of 1833, Douglass collapses from heat exhaustion and is unable to continue working.... (full context)
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Fellowship Theme Icon
Douglass spends the night in St. Michael’s, and returns to Covey’s the next day. He sees Covey running out to whip him and successfully hides in... (full context)
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
The next day, Sunday, Douglass returns to Covey’s carrying the root on his right side. On his way back, he passes Covey, who... (full context)
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
The Inexpressibility of Enslavement Theme Icon
The fight with Covey renews Douglass’s self-confidence and his desire to be free, and he experiences a satisfaction that... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Douglass is at first surprised that Covey doesn’t have him whipped by a constable. Douglass theorizes that Covey doesn’t want to lose... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Douglass’s year of service to Mr. Covey ends on Christmas Day of 1833. Slaves are given the days between Christmas and New... (full context)
The Self-Destructive Hypocrisy of Christian Slaveholders Theme Icon
...with William Freeland, who lives near St. Michael’s. Freeland is a more honorable man than Covey, and does not deceive his slaves. Douglass is also relieved that Freeland does not try... (full context)
Knowledge and Ignorance Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Fellowship Theme Icon
Mr. Freeland treats Douglass more fairly than Covey did, giving his slaves both enough to eat and enough time to eat. Freeland himself... (full context)