Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Essay

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Frederick Douglass was born in Maryland in 1818 as a slave to a maritime captain, Captain Anthony. After decades of enslavement, Frederick Douglass escaped to the North and became one of the prominent members and drivers of the abolitionist movement. In an effort to provide an eye-opening account of the harsh treatment of slaves, Douglass wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass detailed his life beginning from his meager early years through his escape to the North. In writing his autobiography, Douglass utilized a variety of techniques including the use of the three rhetorical strategies: Ethos, Pathos and Logos to create a powerful and influential argument against the institution of…show more content…
For Douglass, the most memorable and emotion-provoking incident was the treatment of his grandmother. When she became too old to work, she, after a lifetime of faithful service to the family, was left helpless and alone in a shack in the woods to fend for herself. “They took her to the woods, built her a little hut, put up a little mud-chimney, and then made her welcome to the privilege of supporting herself in perfect loneliness; thus virtually turning her out to die!” (Douglass 51) Throughout his narrative, Douglass applied he rhetorical strategy of Pathos repeatedly and to great effect to promote and validate his view that slavery is morally wrong. Employing the rhetorical device of Ethos, which is the establishment of expertise and knowledge by an author or speaker, Douglass lends credibility to his writings regarding slavery because he experienced slavery. While any ex-slave could write a credible story about slavery, Frederick Douglass was anything other than an ordinary slave. This was demonstrated not only in his story, but in his mastered ability to retell his story. Douglass gained experience in nearly every aspect of the slave life. Spending his early years witnessing the savageness of slave drivers, he was moved to the city where he spent his teen years serving a much more lenient master and recalled her as “A
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