The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is an enticing tale of Douglas as he changes from slave to man. Near the beginning of the book, his first witness of a whipping reveals the entrance to the horrors that would come throughout his experience with enslavement. “No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim…” (4) it displays the physical, emotional, and spiritual breaking of an individual; powerful words to create an understanding of the terror of slavery. Beating into absolute submission strikes a sense of sadness, pity, justice in the reader that encourages them to see slavery in a different light. Throughout his narrative he continues to attack these points to encourage similar feelings of pity and acknowledgement “to enlighten white readers about both the realities of slavery as an institution and the humanity of black people as individuals deserving of full human rights.”.
The gender of the speaker cannot be defined since there are no indications to suggest the speaker’s gender. The main idea of the poem is the integral part of music in African American culture as a “hypodermic needle / to [the] soul” soothing the weariness and pain from the “smoldering memor[ies]” of “slave ships” (6). In stanza 1, the larger theme of social inequality is addressed through the allusion of the slave trade by trumpet player’s memory “of slave ships / Blazed to the crack of whips,” (6-7).
Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon is an examination on the importance of self-identity in African-American society and the effects of a name. Names and labels are used to describe and symbolize people, places, and things, serving as a brief definition of the subject. Toni Morrison uses this definition in order to analyze the effects redefining or naming had on African Americans heritage and culture after their emancipation. Throughout the story, the central protagonist Macon Dead III or Milkman, searches his family’s history to reclaim his past and recreate himself. America’s history of slavery and it’s lasting effects have allowed African-American society and cultural identity to be dictated by the white majority.
This poem teaches readers that all humans have strength within them that can help to overcome any obstacles. “Out of the huts of history 's shame…/ I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide…/ Into a daybreak that 's wondrously clear…/I rise…” (29-43) generate a glorious ending and reflection of being the hope and the dream of slaves as reflected in the freedom and opportunity of the present day. The message drives a point that no matter what, the protagonist will be triumphant.
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
Steph Craps read Dabydeen’s Turner, as a poem emphasizing the closing of the gap between the past and the present where the injustices of the past usurp the possibility for mobility and agency of present and future generations. Craps derived the hauntological aspect of Dabydeen’s Turner, where the victims of past injustices hover and haunt the present in their search for justice. David Dabydeen’s Turner, is a depiction of a drowning slave’s failed attempt to “fabricate a new self and a new history” within a society that is “trapped by the powerful forces of the past” (Craps 2010
The publication of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was monumental, a rhetorical strategy in itself. Frederick Douglass establishes his credibility by being one of the first African slaves to write of the brutal nature of slavery. He also writes on a personal level, connecting to those who had the same experiences and appealing to those yearning to learn of the situation. Douglass’ personal affiliation with slavery can be seen at times when he shares that “slavery would not always be able to hold [him] within its foul embrace.” (Douglass
One of his most famous works is “Negro,” which is a poem that highlights African American identity through the personification of African American heritage. The narrator is the personified figure that connects African Americans by explaining historical allusions that contributed to African American heritage and culture. This personified narrator enhances the theme of unified heritage among African Americans in the poem “Negro” with the use of structure, historical parallels, and historical context. One of the ways the use of personification in “Negro” enhances the theme of unified heritage is by manifesting African American history and experience structurally into one person, who is also the narrator. Hughes wrote this poem in the first person, so the poem is laden with “my,”
Douglass puts to use personification and metaphors to show the path needed to end slavery. When speaking on the state of slavery in current times Douglass mentions, “Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages”. This language refers to the institution of slavery and the large changes needed to change it. The metaphor hopes to portray the task of ending slavery to the audience. In addition, Douglass states, “above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions!”.
Throughout this autobiography, Frederick Douglass reaches out to his readers to be compassionate to slaves, and persuades them using rhetorical devices when recounting his life's story. He uses striking imagery describing the pain his body endures in order to show how dehumanized slaves are and make their pain tangible to his northern audience, as well as builds his credibility to the readers by bringing up facts and stories of his first hand experience through life as a slave, while also gaining their sympathy. Exploiting the abuse of slaves, Frederick Douglass uses imagery of the interactions between his owner and his aunt, Hester, to enlighten and horrify readers about how these people were dehumanized by their owners and environment, and Douglass desires readers to sympathize.
“With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression.” This relates to the hardships and the fact that the people don’t recognize how terrible it is. And that these meanings of these “free” words mean something else to him and other slaves. He shows that the changes are hard but once they are made everything will be peaceful. Rhetorical features and strategies are Douglass’ forte’ in engaging with the audience.
“One who is a slaveholder at heart never recognizes a human being in a slave” (Angelina Grimke). This quote was created to show the effect that slavery had on not only the slave, but the slaveholder. The slaveholder would dehumanize the slave to the point where the human was no longer recognizable; instead, the slave was property. Throughout this autobiography, Frederick Douglass uses language to portray the similarities and differences between the two sides. He allows the reader to spend a day in the life of a slave to see the effects from it.