After physically fighting against Mr. Covey, Frederick Douglass wrote “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”.
Douglass was a “slave in fact” when he worked and obeyed without questioning his masters and place in the social hierarchy. Even though his father was white, he never received any special treatment because he was never claimed. Douglass accepted his situation and continued to work with his head down until learning how to read. However, as time progressed, Douglass extracted the most power he could from his situation by educating himself. He continued to pursue freedom, ultimately going against Mr. Covey. After the bloody encounter, Douglass gained confidence and power against Mr. Covey since he will never be whipped again. Free from the grasp of notorious Mr. Covey, Douglass has gained advantage and is now a “slave by form”.