November 15, 2013
Frederick Douglass Summative CSE
Frederick Douglas wrote his narrative, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass to bring to the common person’s awareness the cruelty and torture dealt to slaves. He uses his life’s story as a slave wishing for freedom to expose gritty details about the slave trade and the slave owners behind it. With each chapter, he reveals more about the fate of particular slaves, the slaveholding culture of both the North and South, and a little about the persona he displays in the book, too. These points are made more relevant and more effective when used in conjunction with literary devices that include remarkable diction, imagery, syntax, and other devices. In fact, Douglass’ use of these in his narrative creates a stronger message that contributes to his purpose of educating the masses and advocating for the abolition of slavery.
In the early chapters, Douglass sets out to craft a good first impression, using details about his origins and family to create a firm ethos able to withstand any accusation. He quickly explains why he has the appearance that he does with the brief introduction, “I was born in Tuckahoe [Maryland]…My mother was named Harriet Bailey…my father was a white man,” (Douglass 1) and this serves the purpose of shutting down those who might have arguments about his history. In addition, Douglass gives grisly details about the fate of one particular slave woman with, “[he would] whip upon her naked back til she was literally covered in blood,” (Douglass 4) which serves to his overall purpose greatly because once the knowledge of slave punishment comes to life via descriptive words and shocking phrases, people start to become convinced to take action or feel impassioned about the cause. An emotional response from his readers was necessary for Douglass to make his point more strong.
Diving deeper into the narrative, the middle chapters serve to elevate the morbid factor of slave life and...