"Subjects" of some kind there must be, of course. One cannot learn the theory of grammar without learning an actual language, or learn to argue and orate without speaking about something in particular. The debating subjects of the Middle Ages were drawn largely from theology, or from the ethics and history of antiquity. Often, indeed, they became stereotyped, especially towards the end of the period, and the far-fetched and wire-drawn absurdities of Scholastic argument fretted Milton and provide food for merriment even to this day. Whether they were in themselves any more hackneyed and trivial than the usual subjects set nowadays for "essay writing" I should not like to say: we may ourselves grow a little weary of "A Day in My Holidays" and all the rest of it. But most of the merriment is misplaced, because the aim and object of the debating thesis has by now been lost sight of.
There are several significant moments in Frederick Douglass's life. First, he was chosen from among several eligible slave children to move to Baltimore. If he had not moved to that bustling city full of opportunities for greater freedom it is doubtful that he would have turned into the famed orator and reformer. Secondly, he realized that learning how to read and write would catapult him from ignorance and darkness to knowledge and illumination. Through expanding his mind and attaining a full realization of his capabilities, he realized he was not meant to be a slave and endeavored to free himself from bondage. Thirdly, at Covey's farm he finally stood up for himself and resisted Covey's brutal and capricious beatings. This took him from slave to man; his self fully-realized. Finally, to cement the gains earned by literacy and resistance, Douglass escaped from the oppressive land of the South where he was forever to be in servitude. The physical act of moving North was the final climax in the Narrative . Douglass was a free man, with both of the words "free" and "man" being significant.