Frederick Douglass published two similar versions of his fight with the ‘slave-breaker’ Edward Covey in the tenth chapter of his The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, and in the seventeenth chapter of My Bondage and My Freedom. By comparing the two accounts it is possible to see an evolution of his thoughts on abolishing slavery and person hood which occurred in the years which transpired between the two works, 1845 and 1855.
By definition, freedom is essentially the right to choose ;by action, it is something wanted but not always achieved .Freedom is the oxygen of the soul (Mashe Dayon ) and it seems to be feigned for and more important to those whom freedom is denied. This is shown in both literary works”The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass “and “Why the Caged Bird Sings”. From both of Frederick Douglass and Maya Angelou’s writing it(freedom) is important and longed for ,but how the depravity of it affects the enslaved is where Douglass and Angelou deviate from their similarities.
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.
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.
Although a century apart, Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and Frederick Douglass’s What to a Slave is the fourth of July are kindred spirits. Notwithstanding the many differences in their respective writing styles, deep down the essence of the message conveyed is still very much the same. Both Martin Luther King Junior and Frederick Douglas had similar beliefs and concepts related to the treatment of the African American community. They both describe a tough yet heart breaking situation that makes them question their moral values and doubt the system and its ability to change for better. Both King and Douglass were advocating for the same thing: their constitutional sanction of freedom.
A famous slave and abolitionist in the struggle for liberty on behalf of American slaves, Frederick Douglass, in his autobiography published in 1845, portrayed the horrors of captivity in the South. Douglass’s purpose in the narrative was to show how slaves lived, what they experienced, and how they were unquestionably less comfortable in captivity than they would have been in a liberated world. He implemented a didactic tone to portray the viciousness of slave-owners and the severe living conditions for the slaves. Employing his experience as a slave, Douglass accurately expressed the terrors that he and the other slaves endured. In chapter six, Douglass described his involvement with his mistress,
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” This quote from Frederick Douglass expresses his struggle with slavery throughout his lifetime much like his speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass was asked to give this speech for an Independence Day celebration, but took an unexpected turn down a path his audience may not have been ready for. He uses ethos, pathos and an abrupt tone to present his argument against slavery.
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, an African American slave, went through many obstacles to become a free man. Frederick Douglass not only kept his head held high through all of the troubles he faced, he also was fearless, defiant, and determined. All of these qualities are what helped him escape slavery in the long run.
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.
“The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich and “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin both have the common theme of death; however, in “The Red Convertible”, the death of Henry ends the very close relationship that he has with his brother Lyman while in “Story of an Hour”, the death of Mr. Mallard marks an opportunity of independence and freedom for Mrs. Mallard which shows that the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Mallard was unsatisfactory.
“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. Within “My Bondage and My Freedom,” Douglass uses diction throughout the autobiography to display his tone of understanding, and how slavery affects both the slave and the slave holder which causes the mood of frustration for the reader.
Close Reading: When Douglass stands up to Covey, the language and metaphors he uses to describe it tell a lot. “It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood” using words like ‘rekindled’ and ‘the embers of freedom provide a hopeful image. Almost as if he has been raised back from near death. This is the moment when he resolves that even though he's still a slave in the technical sense, he'll never again be a slave in his
Frederick Douglass uses diction to express that the emotions of being free are equally as taxing as the emotions he experienced while he was a slave. He says that being free was the highest excitement he ever felt even though the answer does not satisfy him. By contradicting himself he seems to want to show that an answer to the question of how he felt in a free state is as inexplicable how it felt to be a slave. He later states that one must just experience or imagine themselves in a similar situation to understand his emotions. He compares escaping slavery to escaping a ‘’den of hungry tigers,’’ but the relief is shortly lived because loneliness consumes him. He stresses trusting no men, out of fear he’d speak to a ‘’predator/ money-loving