Essay on Out of the Silence

1445 Words 6 Pages
The slave narrative genre is an important part of American history. These stories are not only portraits of individual history, but also of American history. By reading the stories of the past we can better determine the path of the future. The personal stories of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are two excellent examples of the slave narrative genre in American literature. To be sure, bondage and oppression had a lasting and profound effect on both genders; however, men and women experienced slavery in different ways. By comparing and contrasting “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” and “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” we gain very different insights into the truth about slavery from the vantage …show more content…
His target audience was the upper and middle class men of American society, the powerful politicians in control of American law. With that in mind, Frederick Douglass used writing tactics that resemble argumentative essays or speeches to show his audience the effects of slavery on all people who were slaves. Mr. Douglass relied mostly on the logos appeal with ethos as support. The following passage is a good example of this.
. . . nevertheless plain that a very different-looking class of people are springing up at the south, and are now held in slavery, from those originally brought to this country from Africa: and if their increase will do no other good, it will do away the force of the argument, that God cursed Ham, and therefore American slavery is right. . . for thousands are ushered into the world, annually, who, like myself, owe their existence to white fathers, and those fathers most frequently their own masters (Douglass 877).
In this manner, Douglass used the logos appeal to attack the justifications of American slavery. Equally important, he used the ethos appeal to call attention to the character of the white men who rape slave women and sell their own children. Frederick Douglass used that strategy because he knew that the lawmakers were men who respected logic. In effect, Douglass used logic to gently force those lawmakers to reexamine their own ethics…