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.
Douglass thought that him learning how to read was more of a curse than a blessing. He had only read books about slavery and that discouraged him. This made him feel beaten down by his abilities. He faced great hardship due to his mental image of himself. He had to overcome the challenge of facing himself.
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,
African-American slaves were forbidden to obtain the knowledge of being able to read or write, stemming from the fear of white masters that educated slaves will overpower them. Douglass managed to learn to read by bribing poor and hungry white boys into teaching him in exchange for bits of bread. Douglass illustrates his thirst for literacy through “[The] bread [he] used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give [him] that more valuable bread of knowledge” (pg 23). This reveals how much Douglass valued education and took advantage of all the knowledge he had access to. Today’s youth, especially the ones belonging to a minority
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.
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.
In both the inspiring narratives of Narrative in the Life of Fredrick Douglass by Frederick Douglass’s and in Incidents in the life of a slave girl by Harriet Jacobs the respective authors demonstrate the horrors and disparity of slavery in there own ways. They both use their unique experiences in the difference facets of slavery to show a very complete picture of the problems and atrocities of slavery.
Douglass uses deep characterization to show the change in behavior of slaveholders who have uncontrolled power. A good example of this is Sophia Auld. Before slavery took effect, she was a kind and caring woman who comprehended moral righteousness. She had never owned a slave before Douglass. Owning Douglass soon changed her into an evil slave owner when she realized the power, “the white man’s power to enslave the black man” that she had (Douglass 41).
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.
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.
“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.
Although it had been said 421 years ago this renowned proverb had cultivated itself as the apex of modern society. In addition to its modern influence, it had greatly impacted the decline of slavery. In the novel, “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, Douglass incorporates his acquisition of knowledge in order to implore others to conform to his cause. “These dear souls came not to Sabbath school because it was popular to do so, nor did I teach them because it was reputable to be thus engaged. Every moment they spent in that school, they were liable to be taken up and given thirty-nine lashes. They came because they wished to learn. Their minds had been starved by their cruel masters. They had been shut up in mental darkness. I taught them, because it was the delight of my soul to be doing something that looked like bettering the condition of my race”, Chapter 10 page 23 . Even as Douglass comes to the realization that to educate his fellow slaves a price had been paid he had continued to see the progressional popularity of his “school” due to the fact that every human has the natural desire to learn. As mentioned by the proverb “knowledge is power”, every human has the opportunity to learn as it creates the circumstances to change your situation. Slaves had sought this opportunity as it had offered aid to their freedom as well as the empowerment of their voice as with no knowledge not a single man would
Slaves often do not understand their condition fully, since they do not know life beyond slavery. His unawareness of the liberating power of education bound him in a misleading bliss, causing him to believe that his state of being had permanency and to remain unaware of his injustice. However, once education had revealed to Douglass his ignorance, he says, “. . . I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy.” (Douglass, 2014, p. 133) Education is equally yoked by the power to free an individual and to enslave an individual. Education frees an individual from the misleading bliss of ignorance, resulting in a new ability to think critically and to understand. However, ignorance does not require hard work as education does. Ignorance allows individuals to remain in their comfort zones. Furthermore, Education opened Douglass’s eyes to the reality of his injustice as a slave; thus, compelling him to action as he recalls, “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity.”(Douglass, 2014, p.133) Education caused Douglass heartache. While attaining his education benefited Douglass, he could not relate to his fellow slaves. The fellow slaves had the ability to remain content with their current state of being since it was all they had ever known. Douglass knew otherwise and longed for the forbidden life as a free man, as it changed from an unattainable idea into an achievable
In Douglass’s earlier years as a slave, he held a more optimistic outlook on his situation. In particular, when Douglass learned to read he began reading documents that contained argument against slavery and in doing so, he became conscious of the true horror of slavery. He writes, “I often found myself regretting my own existence and wishing myself dead…” (ch. VII). However, he continues, saying “...and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should have killed myself…”(ch. VII). Even upon realizing the evil around him, and despite times
From the moment Frederick Douglass was given the tools to read “books” he was overcome with a joy and excitement for knowledge that inspired him to persevere regardless of the beliefs of others. As a slave Douglass was sent to live with his masters the Hugh family, during his time there his master’s wife began to teach him to read “books”. The lessons gave the young boy a chance to explore worlds he never imagined and was the beginning of an undeniable love for literature. Unfortunately when his master was informed of this he immediately halted all the lessons. Douglass recalls Mr. Hugh explaining to his wife that studying “books” was not suitable for slaves and