In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author/narrator is a slave who eventually escapes his captivity, taking it upon himself to seize his own freedom. Douglasss sheer determination led him to shape his own destiny, leaving almost no aspect of the attainment of his ultimate liberty up to chance or outside forces.
In order to gain an advantage among his fellow slaves and become the intellectual equal of his masters, Douglass taught himself to read and write. Becoming literate was a very important step towards becoming free because Douglass thought that he might be able to write his own pass to freedom someday (page 25). Later, Douglass does get to use his acquired literacy to write his own pass with the protections that he drafts, which act as a sort of forged contract, permitting him to go north, where he could live in freedom (page 51). Despite the protections failure, Douglasss literacy eventually allowed him to be an effective, eloquent abolitionist following his escape.
Douglass also took it upon himself to ensure fair treatment by his masters. He refused to be mistreated by his social superiors, especially evidenced by his fight with Mr. Covey. Douglass recounts: at this momentfrom whence came the spirit I don't knowI resolved to fight He asked me if I meant to persist in my resistance. I told him I did, come what might; that he had used me like a brute for six months, and that I was determined to be used so no longer (page 42-43). This unheard-of act won Douglass a sense of self-pride and accomplishment.
Douglasss overall liberation can be accredited almost entirely to himself. His passion and independent nature allowed him to win his own freedom and eventually become a powerful leader of the abolitionist movement.