Frederick Douglass Literary Techniques

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Frederick Douglass was born as a slave in 1818 on a plantation in Maryland. After many years of enduring the pain and horrifying experiences of being a slave and then running away and staying hidden, he bravely published Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. His narrative tells of his life as a slave, secretly learning to read and write, then leading up to his escape and the beginning of his life in New York. He uses a strong array of syntax, powerful sentence structure, and familiar poetic and biblical references to pull the reader in. These literary techniques are meant to make the reader feel the same fear, helplessness, and anger Frederick Douglass and many other slaves felt at the time. Douglass’ use of references…show more content…
Douglass, though, has given more meaning and feeling with his words, saying how the words Mr. Auld has said, sank deep in his heart, ‘woke up’ thoughts he had within and formed a new idea. While reading, it may be noticed that Douglass uses metaphors to describe how he feels. “Shutting me up in mental darkness” (Douglass 43) and “They had been shut up in mental darkness.” (Douglass 75) is how Douglass describes being denied the opportunity to learn how to read and write. However, the first quote is from a paragraph in which Douglass tells of Mrs. Auld’s inability to keep him from learning how to read and write and the second is when he tells of his Sabbath school and the slaves that came to learn. The metaphor is saying that he felt like being denied the ability to learn feels like being locked in a room without light. Light it what shows us the way, and what is there, much like knowledge. Douglass skillful use of metaphors, vast vocabulary, and allusions help in grabbing the reader’s attention while reading. The story may be interesting, however, with Douglass’ use of these literary devices, it makes it more emotional and vivid, something that is important for this narrative. To accurately tell of Douglass’ experience as a slave, these literary devices hit a home run in earning the reader’s
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