Narrative, By Frederick Douglass: The Characterization Of Slaveholders

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This passage from Frederick Douglass’ Narrative describes to the audience the characterization of the different slaveholders. The purpose of the passage is to highlight the different slaveholders in his community. Douglass uses a combination of characterization and emotional appeals in an attempt to evoke emotions out of his audience. In the first paragraph, Douglass characterizes Mr. William Freeland as an “educated southern gentleman.” He explains that Freeland is more just than any of his other masters. He reveals that he is incredibly grateful that Mr. Freeland isn’t religious. Douglass emphasizes his hatred of religious slaveholders by stating that they are not humane masters. He goes on saying that other slaveholders in his neighborhood profess that they are religious, but only use religion to justify their barbarity towards their slaves. He ends his statement about Freeland by describing him as his favorite master, second only to his own independence.…show more content…
He uses parallel structure to argue that religion is what slaveholders use to justify the horrid crimes that they act upon a slave. He calls it “a justifier of the most appalling barbarity” and “a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds.” The use of parallel structure here helps us see the cowardice of slaveholders. They hide behind their religion to justify their cruel acts, Douglass goes to the point of calling Mr. Weeden a “religious wretch.” By debasing the argument that religion supports slavery Douglass is in turn making his opponents argument
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