The Narrative of Fredrick Douglass

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In the passage of the Narrative of Fredrick Douglass, the author masterfully conveys two complimentary tones of liberation and fear. The tones transition by the use of diction and detail. The passage is written entirely in first person, since we are witnessing the struggles of Fredrick Douglass through his eyes. Through his diction, we are able to feel the triumph that comes with freedom along with the hardships. Similarly, detail brings a picturesque view of his adversities. Since the point of view is first person, the reader is able to be a part of the Douglass’ struggles with his new freedom. With diction, detail, and point of view, the reader is able to get a rare glimpse into the past of Fredrick Douglass.Fredrick Douglass’ diction is powerful as he describes his life as a slave and with his new freedom. Fredrick Douglass calls being enslaved an act of “wretchedness,” yet he was able to remain “firm” and eventually left the “chains” of slavery. Fredrick Douglass expresses that being enslaved is a wretched act and that no man should ever deserve such treatment. Despite being a slave, he kept strong and eventually broke the chain of society. However, Fredrick Douglass experienced great “insecurity” and “loneliness” with his new freedom, and was upon a new “hunting-ground.” His new freedom brought other devastating factors, being a new state without any friends, which caused his loneliness. In this new state, he grew insecure for he was in a new danger zone where at any time his freedom could be rejected. With new freedom come new obstacles, which are described in the diction of Fredrick Douglass. The detail present in the narrative helps convey the tones of liberation and fear. Douglass recalls the “blessedness of freedom,” of not having to wonder if it will be a day of “life or death,” yet he was able to live and “succeed in reach{ing} New York without the slightest interruption.” Attaining freedom was the highest goal for Fredrick Douglass. As a slave each day he would wake up wondering if he would live to see tomorrow, due to his strength he was able to live on and succeed in reaching the safe state. However, once freedom was attained he felt as though he “had escaped a den of hungry lions” with “money loving kidnappers” causing him to “trust no man.” Douglass feels as though he is prey in this free state where kidnappers are awaiting to make some easy money and take him back to slavery.

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