Essay on Frederick Douglass Rhetoric Analysis

1236 WordsNov 5, 20125 Pages
Whenever injustice exists in society, it becomes the responsibility of others to step forward in defense of the oppressed. If this action does not occur, then the injustice will remain and innocent people will suffer. In order to preserve equality, sometimes people must take a risk in order to reveal the truth and uphold justice. Individuals throughout history, such as the founding fathers, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., have faced this peril in the pursuit of freedom. In 1845, Frederick Douglass published Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in order to do just that- to establish the truth behind slavery and advocate for freedom. In his narrative, Douglass uses diction, structure, imagery, and other…show more content…
After about nine chapters detailing his slave life, he says, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” (Douglass, 75) He then goes on to describe the turning point for him that sparked his quest for freedom. By structuring his narrative this way, he reveals both sides- how slavery broke him “in body, soul, and spirit” (Douglass, 73) and how it eventually “rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom” within him (Douglass, 80). In doing so, he gives the reader an insight into how he became himself, and reinforces the evils of slavery in the way it shapes a man’s life. Douglass’ use of diction and structure effectively persuades the reader of the barbarity and inhumanity that comes as a result of slavery. To continue his persuasion, Douglass uses selection of detail and different tones to make his view known. When describing some aspects of slavery, Douglass’ use of detail opens society’s eyes to injustice. In one case, when describing the whipping of his Aunt Hester, he includes details that encompass sight- “the warm, red blood… came dripping to the floor,” sound- “amid heart-rending shrieks,” and emotion- “I was so horror-stricken… I hid myself in a closet” (Douglass, 24). By including facts covering many senses, he provides the reader a chance to piece together the scene, giving them perspective. If society has all the details, it becomes easier for them to pass an accurate judgment of slavery. His detail, or lack thereof,
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