The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, written by Frederick Douglass himself, is a brutally honest portrayal of slavery’s dehumanizing capabilities. By clearly connecting with his audience’s emotions, Douglass uses numerous rhetorical devices, including anecdotes and irony, to argue the depravity of slavery.
Douglass is a African American that was a slave and did a Narrative about his time being a slave and in his Narrative he “threw light” at the American slave system. African American slave Frederick Douglass lived through a time of racism and how slavery was a natural thing to do but was a very awful thing. And slavery is when families who had colored skin were separated and sold of to a person that can do anything to them, the slave is pretty much like the slaveholder’s property. And in this essay I will talk about how Douglass’s position differs from those who supported slavery and also I will be talking about How Douglass used his Narrative to share his position.
In “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, Douglass narrates in detail the oppressions he went through as a slave before winning his freedom. In the narrative, Douglass gives a picture about the humiliation, brutality, and pain that slaves go through. We can evidently see that Douglass does not want to describe only his life, but he uses his personal experiences and life story as a tool to rise against slavery. He uses his personal life story to argue against common myths that were used to justify the act of slavery. Douglass invalidated common justification for slavery like religion, economic argument and color with his life story through his experiences torture, separation, and illiteracy, and he urged for the end of slavery.
Throughout his narrative, Douglass’s descriptions of the white slaveholders expose the Christian hypocrisy found in the American slave system. Douglass first does so by exposing how the lesson taught by Christians to help those in need is contradicted by the experiences Douglass has especially with hunger. Douglass reflects on these experiences when he states that for the “first time during a space of more than seven years” feeling the effects of the “painful gnawing’s of hunger…” (54). This event shows the Christians’ lessons of selflessness and kindness is hypocritical as they treat their fellow humans as subhuman. The Christians at the time rely on scripture to make a case for slavery in America. It is a common argument for Christian slaveholders to make “…that God cursed Ham, and therefore American slavery is right…” (5). this argument exposes their hypocrisy as it conveys how they attempt to stretch small pieces of scripture to justify the violence of the American slavery. Douglass thus asks if it is humane to use a small piece of writing to damn an entire race to hardship and subhuman treatment. This case of blasphemy is amplified by the observation that Douglass makes of one of his slave masters, Mr. Covey, in that “he seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the almighty” (61). Here, Douglass exposes the Christian attempt to wash their hands of any guilt or wrong doing. Overall, Douglass exposes the truth behind this hypocrisy; when these slaveholders use God as a
“ I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, woman-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” (Douglass 100) Douglass does this to show how hypocritical people in the South were being. Churches were teaching the Christian practice of being kind and compassionate while not actually practicing it themselves. Douglass argues that the actions of some people are against religion.
After being separated from his mother at a young age, Frederick Douglass fights back against slavery and human rights. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, the author, Frederick Douglass, uses powerful rhetoric to disprove the Pragmatic and the Scientific pro-slavery arguments of Pre-Civil War America.
Frederick Douglass’s narrative provides a first hand experience into the imbalance of power between a slave and a slaveholder and the negative effects it has on them both. Douglass proves that slavery destroys not only the slave, but the slaveholder as well by saying that this “poison of irresponsible power” has a dehumanizing effect on the slaveholder’s morals and beliefs (Douglass 40). This intense amount of power breaks the kindest heart and changes the slaveholder into a heartless demon (Douglass 40). Yet these are not the only ways that Douglass proves what ill effect slavery has on the slaveholder. Douglass also uses deep characterization, emotional appeal, and religion to present the negative effects of slavery.
Through his story, Douglass proves that slavery has negative effects on slaveholders. He uses imagery, flashbacks, and characterization to persuade the reader of the true nature of slavery. His deep thoughts and insights of slavery and the unbalanced power between a slaveholder and his slave are unprompted for a social establishment. Douglass insists that slaveholding fills the soul with sadness and bitter anguish. In addressing effects of slavery on masters cause one man to rethink his moral character and better understand the laws of humanity. At last, Douglass brings the point of freedom and justice the one person has every right to him than any other, and no man has the authority to rule over
Frederick Douglass an activist for anti racism and also an abolitionist’s speech “The Hypocrisy of Slavery” was given on the occasion of celebrating the independence day. Here, in this speech he actually brought out some questions like why we should celebrate Independence Day while almost four million people were kept chained as a slave. He actually mocked the fact of the people of America’s double standards which is that they are singing out the song of liberty, on the other hand holding the chain of slavery. Frederick Douglass, a former American-African slave who managed to escape from his slavery and later on became an abolitionist gave this speech on Fourth of July,
Social reformer, Frederick Douglass was an African American man who decamped from slavery. He has drafted several books including Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Mr. Douglass writes about his perspicacity as a slave. Mr. Douglass repeatedly uses paradox, imagery, and parallelism to display how slavery was inhuman and heartbroken.
The autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, written in 1845 in Massachusetts, narrates the evils of slavery through the point of view of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass is a slave who focuses his attention into escaping the horrors of slavery. He articulates his mournful story to anyone and everyone, in hopes of disclosing the crimes that come with slavery. In doing so, Douglass uses many rhetorical strategies to make effective arguments against slavery.
Frederick Douglass, born a slave and later the most influential African American leader of the 1800s, addresses the hypocrisy of the US of maintaining slavery with its upheld ideals being freedom and independence on July 4th, 1852. Douglass builds his argument by using surprising contrasts, plain facts, and provocative antithesis.
Figurative language allocates emotions such as excitement, dread and seclusion. As a slave you have no rights, identity or home. Escaping slavery is the only hope of establishing a sense of self and humanity. Many slaves fear even the idea of escaping because of the possible consequences that come along with it. Therefore, the escape of Frederick Douglass is relatively substantial. Douglass says he feels “like the one who escaped a den of hungry lions.” He feels fortunate to have accomplished something that not many have been able to. Unfortunately, his happiness is short lived. Douglass quickly remembers that “the ferocious beasts of the forest lie in wait for their prey.” He understands that so long as he is a black man in a white man’s country he will never truly be free. At any given moment a white man can capture him and return him to
Hope and fear, two contradictory emotions that influence us all, convicted Frederick Douglass to choose life over death, light over darkness, and freedom over sin. Douglass, in Chapter ten, pages thirty-seven through thirty-nine, of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, utilizes various rhetorical techniques and tone shifts to convey his desperation to find hope in this time of misery and suffering. Mr. Covey, who Douglass has been sent to by his master to be broken, has succeeded in nearly tearing all of Douglass’s dreams of freedom away from him. To expound on his desires to escape, Douglass presents boats as something that induces joy to most but compels slaves to feel terror. Given the multiple uses of repetition, antithesis, indirect tone shifts, and various other rhetorical techniques, we can see Douglass relaying to his audience the hardships of slavery through ethos, the disheartening times that slavery brings, and his breakthrough of determination to obtain freedom.
In Frederick Douglass's essay "Learning to read and write” he recalls the journey to enlightenment showcasing the emotions of joy, hunger, heartache and hope. For example learning to read sparked an unstoppable joy for knowledge. In addition the discovery of that knowledge found Douglass hungry for more. Also the quest for intelligence came at a price causing him a great amount of heartache. Finally a simple thought of the future brought the hope that ultimately inspired him to persevere and succeed in learning to read and write.