Rhetorical Analysis of "How to Read and Write" (Frederick Douglass) During an era of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and no hopes of abolition, Frederick Douglass invites his audience into a world where slavery enters the kindest of souls, and purifies the soul to have nothing but hatred and anger. In the empowering narrative, “Learning to Read and Write”, Douglass enunciates the cruelty of slavery and its pervasive impacts, with the help of Douglass’ vast journey to ultimately gain his thinking skills through reading and writing. Douglass expresses these actions with elaborate metaphors and immaculate details that keeps the audience on their toes to witness what happens next. Growing up as a slave, Douglass became curious about the art of reading …show more content…
This was all shred to pieces with slavery. Douglass juxtaposes Mistress’ “lamb-like disposition” to “tiger-like fierceness” (¶ 2). This is a very power juxtaposition because it displays the cruelty and evil that lies within slavery, and what effect it has on even the kindest of souls. This also alludes to the Christian Bible, in the way that slavery is allowed by the Bible, and this clash between Mistress’ Christian values, and this idea of slavery, that ultimately results in the victory of slavery. The beginning of paragraph two begins by praising Mistress for “treat[ing] me as she supposed one human treat another” (¶ 2), and then speaks of the same Mistress, who “became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself” (¶ 2). This juxtaposition is also serving the purpose to convey one of Douglass’ messages: the pervasive impacts of slavery. While Douglass appreciates the fact Mistress treats Douglass “as she supposed one human treat another” (¶ 2), he alludes to the Bible once again, to speak of the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. This allusion allows the audience to get only a gist of how even Christianity could not stop the horrors of
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Douglass is relentless when attacking the church, he states, “The American Church is Guilty” (Douglass 1039). This has a slightly taste of irony, because here Douglass, a colored man, is calling out the most “sacred” body of people. It almost as if he was the master and they were the slave now. Next, the main theme expressed by
Christianity was, to the slaves of America, (something with a double meaning). In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave, Frederick Douglass, the author, argues about how Christianity can mean one thing to a free white man and something completely different to a black slave. The slave owners follow the ‘Christianity of the Land’ while the slaves follow the ‘Christianity of Christ.’ Frederick begins to build his credibility to a, white, northern, audience by including documents from trustworthy writers and by getting into personal experiences through his writing. Throughout the narrative, he is articulate in how he writes, and it shows the reader that he is well educated.
In the 1700-1800’s, the use of African American slaves for backbreaking, unpaid work was at its prime. Despite the terrible conditions that slaves were forced to deal with, slave owners managed to convince themselves and others that it was not the abhorrent work it was thought to be. However, in the mid-1800’s, Northern and southern Americans were becoming more aware of the trauma that slaves were facing in the South. Soon, an abolitionist group began in protest, but still people doubted and questioned it.
PAGE 2 In the Narrative Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, he uses this text to explain his purpose in “throwing light on the American slave system”, or show it for what it really is, as well as show his position on how he strongly believes slavery is an issue that needs to be addressed and how it differs from those who defended slavery, with experiences from his own life to support his argument. Douglass uses experience from his early days as a young slave to throw light on the aspect of physical abuse. According to his narrative, Douglass states, “Master, however, was not a humane slaveholder.
Because of this, he successfully creates a contrast between what the slave owners think of and treat the slaves and how they are. Douglass says that slave’s minds were “starved by their cruel masters”(Douglass, 48) and that “they had been shut up in mental darkness” (Douglass, 48) and through education, something that they were deprived of, Frederick Douglass is able to open their minds and allow them to flourish into the complex people that they are. By showing a willingness to learn to read and write, the slaves prove that they were much more than what was forced upon them by their masters.
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.
“Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass is a personal narrative which describes a specific time in his childhood when he was learning to read and write. Born as a slave in the pre-Civil War south, Douglass was not expected to be literate. However, through strong ambition, Douglass overcame restrictions and stereotypes placed on slaves and taught himself to read and write. Later in his life, Frederick Douglass wrote down this story in his book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in 1845. Today, students and adults can enjoy this narrative on how he overcame the struggles of learning how to read and write.
He truly tapped into the reader’s emotions to allow them a deeper connection with the story. To see the way that the slaveholder would dehumanize the slave to the point of seeing the slave as just a piece of property was truly heartbreaking. It was at moments such as this that the reader saw a glimpse of the mood, tone and theme. Douglass makes clear his tone of understanding, the theme of both the slave and the slaveholder being affected, and the mood of the reader being
Many of us take education for granted and don’t learn to our fullest potential, but Fredrick Douglass soaked in every piece of information up because he knew it was his way out. “Learning to Read and Write” is a famous article based on what Fredrick Douglass went through to earn a valuable education while being enslaved. Author Fredrick Douglass, wrote “Learning to Read and Write”, published in 1845. Throughout the article, he takes us through different events he goes through while being enslaved. Douglass begins building his credibility with personal facts and successfully demonstrating logic and pathos appeal.
Douglass uses paradox to demonstrate that slavery degragrates the slaverholder. When Douglass under Mr. Sever’s care he described that: “He was less cruel, less profane… He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it. ”(Douglass 24). Most slaveholders are characterized to be cruel and inhuman because of the whipping and the way they treated the slaves.
Frederick Douglass Rhetorical Analysis Essay 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. Douglass clearly uses anecdotes to support his argument against the immorality of slavery. He illustrates different aspects of slavery’s destructive nature by using accounts of not only his own life but others’ alsoas well.
Frederick Douglass was a great writer, but he wasn’t always. He was an escaped slave who used that in his speeches as a topic to gain the attention of his audience. His audience was a seemingly sympathetic one and got to them through rhetorical questions. Douglass wanted to convey the message that there are many changes that need to be made.
Frederick Douglass’s narrative provides a first hand experience into the imbalance of power between a slave and a slaveholder and the negative effects it has on them both. Douglass proves that slavery destroys not only the slave, but the slaveholder as well by saying that this “poison of irresponsible power” has a dehumanizing effect on the slaveholder’s morals and beliefs (Douglass 40). This intense amount of power breaks the kindest heart and changes the slaveholder into a heartless demon (Douglass 40). Yet these are not the only ways that Douglass proves what ill effect slavery has on the slaveholder. Douglass also uses deep characterization, emotional appeal, and religion to present the negative effects of slavery.
One way Douglass made his point was by telling a story about how Caroline, a slave of Mr. Covey, was forced into adultery by Mr. Covey. The women in slavery were sometimes bred like animals and “Mr. Covey may be said to have been guilty of compelling his women slave to commit the sin of adultery” (37). Caroline