Frederick Douglass Rhetoric

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Midterm Essay Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and accomplished orator, provides in his autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a definitive and first-hand account of slavery in America in the mid-Nineteenth Century. This short piece of American literature is filled with rhetorical knowledge, and Douglass uses his remarkable sense of rhetoric and subtle literary techniques, with plenty of ethos, logos, and pathos, to bring his message of hope for change to an entire nation pitted against him. Combining his unfortunately intimate knowledge of slavery and his literary abilities, Douglass does what all slaves wanted: exposing a nation’s great sin and providing the evidence for its salvation. To begin with, Douglass’s…show more content…
Of course, given the nature of the text, it would be a crime for him to not explain to those unaware of the business of slavery the details and logic behind all of it. Douglass’s goal was not to spread his life story in order to gain fame (although he did succeed in that regard), but to bring to the public knowledge the ugly truth of slavery, and call on the idle to take action against the exploitation of fellow human beings. In doing so, Douglass was sure to provide abolitionists what they had desired for so long: an educated slave to personify slavery (that sounds equally exploitative, and it might have been if Frederick Douglass not been intelligent enough to take matters into his own…show more content…
Utilizing ethos, logos, pathos, and empathy, Douglass paints the portrait of his life as complete as possible, laying bare the horrors of slavery and calling for action. He creates a narrative flow that encapsulates the reader into himself, and forces them through the hell he crawled through to give them these few but full pieces of paper. All the anger, pain, hope, desire, bravery, and fear. Every emotion, every lashing, every aching step is summarized and imprinted into the reader for the sake of humanity’s collective soul, and for the salvation and deliverance of those in bondage. Had Frederick Douglass not have the strong grasp on literature, we might not ever have had such a complete picture of slavery, and might not have solved the issue as completely as we
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