WORD LISTS

"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-4

August 16, 2013
As you read Frederick Douglass's “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" (etext found here),
learn these word lists for the autobiography: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-10, Chapter 11 and Appendix
impertinent
He deemed all such inquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, and evidence of a restless spirit.
intimation
Called thus suddenly away, she left me without the slightest intimation of who my father was.
ordain
The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to their own lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable;
invariably
I know of such cases; and it is worthy of remark that such slaves invariably suffer greater hardships, and have more to contend with, than others.
dispose
She is ever disposed to find fault with them; they can seldom do any thing 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 favors which he withholds from his black slaves.
infernal
She now stood fair for his infernal purpose.
evince
If a slave was convicted of any high misdemeanor, became unmanageable, or evinced a determination to run away, he was brought immediately here, severely whipped, put on board the sloop, carried to Baltimore, and sold to Austin Woolfolk, or some other slave-trader, as a warning to the slaves remaining.
privation
There were no beds given the slaves, unless one coarse blanket be considered such, and none but the men and women had these. This, however, is not considered a very great privation.
providence
His death was regarded by the slaves as the result of a merciful providence.
rapturous
They would sometimes sing the most pathetic sentiment in the most rapturous tone, and the most rapturous sentiment in the most pathetic tone.
obdurate
If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul,--and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because "there is no flesh in his obdurate heart."
desolate
The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
brook
Colonel Lloyd could not brook any contradiction from a slave.
unrelenting
He was immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus, without a moment's warning, he was snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death.
maxim
The frequency of this has had the effect to establish among the slaves the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head.
imbibe
Moreover, slaves are like other people, and imbibe prejudices quite common to others.
execrate
At the very same time, they mutually execrate their masters when viewed separately.
eminent
Mr. Hopkins was succeeded by Mr. Austin Gore, a man possessing, in an eminent degree, all those traits of character indispensable to what is called a first-rate overseer.
persevere
Mr. Gore was proud, ambitious, and persevering.
impudence
He was one of those who could torture the slightest look, word, or gesture, on the part of the slave, into impudence, and would treat it accordingly.
avail
No matter how innocent a slave might be--it availed him nothing, when accused by Mr. Gore of any misdemeanor.
reprove
He was cruel enough to inflict the severest punishment, artful enough to descend to the lowest trickery, and obdurate enough to be insensible to the voice of a reproving conscience.
scourge
He had given Demby but few stripes, when, to get rid of the scourging, he ran and plunged himself into a creek, and stood there at the depth of his shoulders, refusing to come out.
subversion
He was setting a dangerous example to the other slaves,--one which, if suffered to pass without some such demonstration on his part, would finally lead to the total subversion of all rule and order upon the plantation.
arraign
Thus she escaped not only punishment, but even the pain of being arraigned before a court for her horrid crime.

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