In America, opposition to slavery started with acts of defiance such as “slave resistance”, where African American slaves would rebel in several ways to attain greater freedom. While this “revolution” gathered steam, with slaves often running away from their masters and finding shelter in swamps, lakes or in cities that believed in their cause, more organized forms of opposition, led by reformers like William Garrison (Document E), who founded The American Anti-Slave Society, also started gaining traction. The growing opposition to slavery, by both slaves and their white sympathizers, eventually culminated in a determined abolitionist movement that highlighted the plight of so many and galvanized public opinion against an appalling institution.
When slavery was abolished in 1865, it was a critical turning point in the journey towards equality for African Americans. Prior to the eradication of slavery writers like Frederick Douglass sought to free millions of slaves in America. While slavery was a well-known and growing problem in the south, it wasn’t as widely recognized in the north. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Douglass recounts his experiences and tribulations as a slave. In the narrative Douglass effectively uses rhetorical imagery, antithesis, and irony in order to expose the harsh reality of slavery during the 19th century.
Rhetorical features and strategies are Douglass’ forte’ in engaging with the audience. He uses metaphors and antithesis within to strengthen that connection. Through this Frederick Douglass appeals to the minds of the sympathetic
Slavery is equally a mental and a physical prison. Frederick Douglass realized this follow-ing his time as both a slave and a fugitive slave. Douglass was born into slavery because of his mother’s status as a slave. He had little to go off regarding his age and lineage. In the excerpt of the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave,” Douglass discusses the horrors of being enslaved and a fugitive slave. Through Douglass’s use of figurative language, diction and repetition he emphasizes the cruelty he experiences thus allowing readers to under-stand his feelings of happiness, fear and isolation upon escaping slavery.
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.
Douglass encountered multiple harsh realities of being enslaved. For example, the ex-slave was practically starved to death by his masters on multiple occasions. In fact, “[He was] allowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else...It was not enough for [him] to subsist upon...A great many times [he had] been nearly perishing with hunger” (pg 31). Douglass managed to overcome the maltreatment of his wretched slave owners through the eventual attainment of freedom. The injustice imposed upon the African-American slaves by their owners was the crux of Douglass’s motivation to escape this inhumane life. Adolescents in today’s society could use Frederick’s determination as an example of moving forward to better oneself or one’s situation regardless of
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.
Using telling details, Douglass describes the dehumanizing effects of the slave system which condones the treatment of human beings as property. For example, when one landowner would pass his belongings to another, “men
The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass shows the imbalance of power between slaves and their masters. In his book, Douglass proves that slavery is a destructive force not only to the slaves, but also for the slaveholders. “Poison of the irresponsible power” that masters have upon their slaves that are dehumanizing and shameless, have changed the masters themselves and their morality(Douglass 39). This amount of power and control in contact with one man breaks the kindest heart and the purest thoughts turning the person evil and corrupt. Douglass uses flashbacks that illustrate the emotions that declare the negative effects of 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.
Frederick Douglass makes a point to demonstrate the deterioration slavery yields from moral, benevolent people into ruthless, cold-hearted people. He starts out describing his new slave owner, Sophia Auld as “a white face beaming with the most kindly emotions; it was the face of my new mistress, Sophia Auld. I wish I could describe the rapture that flashed through my soul as I beheld it. It was a new and strange sight to me, brightening up my pathway with the light of happiness” (Ch. 5 ¶10). Douglass uses diction in “the rapture that flashed through my soul as I beheld it” to portray the effects of her gentle, compassionate personality. The word “rapture” eloquently expresses his feelings of joy and peace as he meets Mrs. Auld. However, these feelings induced by Mrs. Auld soon turn to hatred and remorse as “the fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that
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.
In Douglass’s earlier years as a slave, he held a more optimistic outlook on his situation. In particular, when Douglass learned to read he began reading documents that contained argument against slavery and in doing so, he became conscious of the true horror of slavery. He writes, “I often found myself regretting my own existence and wishing myself dead…” (ch. VII). However, he continues, saying “...and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should have killed myself…”(ch. VII). Even upon realizing the evil around him, and despite times
N-e-w B-e-t-f-o-r-d, this what was Fredrick Douglass read when he stepped off the boat to the north. Just reading those words was an accomplishment. In his book The Narrative and Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave he details his experiences where knowledge is very key. Douglass shows how knowledge gained him the ultimate reward of freedom.
Douglass was sent to live with Mr. Edward Covey in January 1833. Thomas Auld considered Douglass as a reluctant slave, so he sent to a slave breaker, Edward Dovey.