Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
How we cite our quotes:
In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me. (7.6)
Douglass works hard for his education, but knowledge comes at a cost. While his learning makes him unwilling to be a slave (which ultimately leads him to his freedom), it also makes his life even harder to endure while he still is a slave. Sometimes he envies the slaves who are uneducated enough to be happy with their lot. The fact that Douglass wants to improve himself makes it all the more painful not to be able to do so.