Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In the autobiography Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, the author details the horrors and dehumanization of slavery in the south. Douglass utilizes paradox and powerful diction to illustrate his transformation from slave to man in mind, body, and spirit. After overcoming his oppressor, Mr. Covey, Douglass declares, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” Douglass captures the reader’s attention with use of word play and allusion, he clearly indicates the turning point of the memoir and his transformation from slave to man. Douglass uses an allusion to the Bible, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away …show more content…

Covey is not only the most malevolent overseer Douglass has encountered, but also a metaphor for the oppression of slavery he has faced throughout his life. Towards re-humanization he faces and reaches many milestones. Determined to learn how to read on his own, Douglass begins reading books but is perplexed as he is awakened by the reality of slavery; that he can do nothing about. “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me” (Douglass 24). In Douglass’ battle with Mr. Covey he overcomes his physical and psychological enslavement. “This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood” (Douglass 43). Now Educated, he is able to understand his worth, not monetary but internal. Douglass assures, “I could see no reason why I should, at the end of each week, pour the reward of my toil into the purse of my master” (Douglass 60). Employed under Master Hugh he advocates for his worth, “I applied to Master Hugh for the privilege of hiring my time” (Douglass 61). Douglass employs slight arrogance, however, within his new mindset, allows for a different approach to Master Hugh than that of a slave; but as a

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