Narrating these stories informs readers not familiar with slavery a clear idea on how slaves lived and were treated. The novel brings a strong political message to our society. If Douglass explains to people what slavery was about, they would be influenced to make a change. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is the story of Frederick Douglass from the time he was born a slave to the time of his escape to freedom. Through years of physical abuse and assault, Douglass overcame these obstacles to become an advocate against
In, “The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”, readers get a first person perspective on slavery in the South before the Civil War. The author, Frederick Douglass, taught himself how to read and write, and was able to share his story to show the evils of slavery, not only in regard to the slaves, but with regard to masters, as well. Throughout Douglass’ autobiography, he shares his disgust with how slavery would corrupt people and change their whole entire persona. He uses ethos, logos, and pathos to help establish his credibility, and enlighten his readers about what changes needed to be made.
As a former slave, bereft of any free will, written words were all but unavailable to Frederick Douglass. Slaves were unable to tell their stories, to expose the dehumanization that their enslavement caused on both sides of the racial rift; so it was necessary for Douglass to fight tooth and nail to obtain the right to learn, and ultimately to narrate his own life story. Amongst the narration, multiple rhetorical strategies are integrated into the text in order to uncover the dehumanizing effect their mistreatment had on slaves during this time. His primary purpose is to educate those who are ignorant of the horrible conditions that slaves lived in and the cruelty that they suffer. He does this through the use of rhetorical devices such as anecdotes, irony and by further connecting to his audience with pathos and ethos. By using his own personal experiences as the subject of his argument, Douglass is able to make a strong and compelling case against slavery; at a time when it was socially unacceptable to do so.
While writing about the dehumanizing nature of slavery, Douglass eloquently and efficiently re-humanize African Americans. This is most evident throughout the work as a whole, yet specific parts can be used as examples of his artistic control of the English language. From the beginning of the novel, Douglass’ vocabulary is noteworthy with his use of words such as “intimation […] odiousness […] ordained.” This more advanced vocabulary is scattered throughout the narrative, and is a testament to Douglass’ education level. In conjunction with his vocabulary, Douglass often employed a complex syntax which shows his ability to manipulate the English language. This can be seen in Douglass’ self-description of preferring to be “true to [himself], even at the hazard of incurring ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur [his] own abhorrence.” This is significant because it proves that Douglass can not only simply read and write, but he has actually obtained a mastery of reading and writing. This is a highly humanizing trait because it equates him in education level to that of the stereotypical white man, and how could one deny that the white man is human because of his greater education? It is primarily the difference in education that separates the free from the slaves, and Douglass is able to bridge this gap as a pioneer of the
A staunch abolitionist, Douglass would take the country by storm through the power of his words and writings. His narrative was unique in regards to how it was written and the content it holds. Unlike most biographies of freed slaves, Douglass would write his own story and with his own words. His narrative would attempt to understand the effects slavery was having on not just the slaves, but the slaveholders as well. The success of his biography, however, did not rest on the amount of horror in it but from the unmistakable authenticity it provided. His narrative would compel his readers to take action with graphic accounts of the lashes slaves would receive as punishment, “the loude...
Frederick Douglass’ autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave” reveals the immorality and lack of human dignity of slavery. His writings give the reader an in-depth look at the animal-like treatment the slaves received. He revealed that not just the victims of slavery but also the people who have to participate in it. Not many slaves got to tell their stories of the horrors of slavery in America. Frederick Douglass’ brilliant and insightful writings put many 19th century Americans in perspective but also become the voice of African Americans against the greatest injustice in America.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself is controversial anti-slavery literatures of the mid-nineteenth century. Douglass narrates other slaves’ lives while grabbing the attention of residents in the North and many other places throughout the world. Douglass draws much attention to devastating reality and the inconceiva-ble cruelty of enslavement. The purpose of Narrative of the Life is not to introduce Frederick Douglass’s life, but to expose the evil underside of slavery to its readers.
In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by Frederick Douglass himself, is a story of Douglass’ courageous journey through the dark and wretched period of slavery, acting as almost as the slavery’s version of The Diary of Anne Frank. Douglass, a former slave, had an utmost strong desire to acquire the knowledge of literacy—the ability to read and write. In Chapter 6, Douglass overheard a discussion between different white men speaking about how that literacy would allow the slaves to understand their condition and make controlling them a seemingly impossible job for the slave-masters to deal with. With this knowledge in mind, Douglass decided to “set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost
Overall, the narrative is a first person account of the life of a slave as an emotional and gripping story that is well written and understandable. As a whole, Frederick Douglass was looking to reach out to the world when he wrote it but the writing was mostly focused on the people that could actually do something about it at the time. He looked toward the people that had a voice; that would read it and speak about it with other people. During the time, abolition was at the forefront of the issues during the time, and Douglas weighed in on that immensely. The book was a way to push people toward making a difference based on the way that he was treated.
In the autobiography written by Frederick Douglass, it gives the reader details on the everyday life of past American slaves from both his eyes and from others that kept detailed record that they either witnessed or lived. Douglass describes firsthand of what he witnessed as well as his insight to personal experiences from being a slave to becoming a free man. Only when it came down to it he was never truly a free man, he was a runaway that risked everything he had worked for and if ever caught could be forced to return to his master or be killed for his action.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass written by Frederick Douglass himself is a brutally honest portrayal of slavery's dehumanizing capabilities. The style of this famous autobiography can be best described as personal, emotional, and compelling. By writing this narrative, Douglass wants his audience to understand him. He does this by speaking informally like a person would when writing a letter or telling a story to a friend. By clearly establishing his credibility and connecting with his audience, Douglass uses numerous rhetorical devices to argue for the immorality of slavery.
The themes represented in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass express deep struggles and extremes of emotion. He describes multiple facets of slavery, and how slavery corrupts those at the top and torments those at the bottom. Douglass utilizes themes of knowledge, distinctions in gender, and a pain in knowing how to gain something, but being wholly unable to.
The Narrative of Frederick Douglass is an extraordinary passage to the life Douglass had to go through as a young man. The book talks about the struggles Douglass had to go through to achieve his freedom as an African American man. As we begin reading we immediately start to feel the overwhelming emotions, and obstacles he had to overcome. As we unfold to our own knowledge we start reading and discover he was brought up in the eighteen hundreds were slavery was a major issue. In the first chapter we start to get the idea of how hard it was to grow up in this era, for example, a few months after he was born he was taken away from his mother he only saw her a few times after that, and shortly we learned that she passes away " Death soon ended
The tone established in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is unusual in that from the beginning to the end the focus has been shifted. In the beginning of the narrative Douglass seems to fulfill every stereotypical slavery theme. He is a young black slave who at first cannot read and is very naïve in understanding his situation. As a child put into slavery Douglass does not have the knowledge to know about his surroundings and the world outside of slavery. In Douglass’ narrative the tone is first set as that of an observer, however finishing with his own personal accounts.
Frederick Douglass was a slave who won his freedom and went on to write his autobiography to inform people about the hardship of slavery and to deal with the trauma he suffered as a slave. He writes his narrative in a factual and straight forward way, making it easy to understand and empathize with. For certain characters, such as Mr. Covey, Douglass includes more detail than he does for other characters. This shows that they were more important in his life than others. The point of the narrative as a whole is to cultivate abolitionist, anti-slavery ideas in the minds of the audience.