Frederick Douglass An American Slave Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave: Written by Himself, the author suggests that no one can be enslaved if he or she has the ability to read, write, and think. Douglass supports his claim by first beginning the book with saying he does not know dates and can not read or write and secondly, when his master forbade his wife from teaching Douglass to read. Douglass's purpose is to show that slaves are treated unrightfully and to get the prominent leaders in America's society to acknowledge the book and make changes by abolishing slavery. Based on this autobiography, Douglass is writing the leaders of America that have the power to make changes. He did this by targeting people's ethos, pathos, and logos reactions. …show more content…

The quote, “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. (Chapter 1)” connects to the author's purpose because it shows that the masters want the slaves to be as ignorant and illiterate as possible. The author states, “Very soon after I went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Auld, she very kindly commenced to teach me the A,B,C. After I learned this, she assisted me in learning to spell words of three or four letters. (Chapter 6)” This quote shows that Mrs. Auld had not been influenced by slavery, she did not know to keep her slaves illiterate, and she still had a kind heart, therefore, she wanted to teach Douglass how to read. “Now if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. (Chapter 6)” In this quote Mr. Auld told his wife that if you teach a slave to read they can no longer be managed, which is proof that no one can be enslaved if they are literate. “I now …show more content…

(Chapter 6)” This quote is evidence that the basis of a white man’s power to enslave black people was due to their ability to have intelligence and prevent the slaves from obtaining this same intelligence. The quote “Just about the same time I got hold of a book entitled “The Columbian Orator.” Every opportunity I got, I used to read this book… The slave was made to say some very smart as well as impressive things in reply to his master-- things which had the desired though unexpected effect; for the conversation resulted in the voluntary emancipation of the slave on part of the master” shows that in the book, The Columbian Orator, the slave persuaded the master to let him be free using smart words, which is something most slaves are unable to use. The following quote is from a law passed by the state of North Carolina that stated it is illegal to teach a slave to read or write. It proves that the whites did not want the slaves to gain knowledge. This furthers his argument by proving that the whites went to great lengths to stop a slave from being able to

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