Essay on Rhetoric of Resistance in Literature

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Rhetoric of Resistance in Literature



Throughout this semester we have read material focusing on slave narratives, authentic and fictionalized. Three very important pieces of literature during the period in which slavery was alive and well in this country that will be examined are: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, David Walker's Appeal and Henry Highland Garnet's An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America. Each of these pieces proved to be material that was considered incendiary and blatantly militant for its fervor and rhetoric of resistance.
These pieces each individually sought to intently teach and inform the slaves of Black America about their plight and to give them knowledge as to how and why
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In that fight, Douglass conveys in not so uncertain terms that his master would need to kill him in order to succeed in beating him down, rather than he let him hurt him anymore. We see an example of the true spirit of Mr. Covey with his need to maintain a façade of being a "Negro breaker." Douglass has asserted his strength and will and for anyone to find out the truth of what transpired during the altercation would mean giving up Mr. Covey's well earned, unsubstantiated reputation.
Douglass describes this period as being "a glorious resurrection from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom."(299). The author goes on to talk of having his spirit resonate and rise to the highest level possible in that he was able to see his condition not as one that truly held him in his heart and mind, even if it held him in form.
By this I mean to define that moment as one that releases his mind, allowing him the knowledge that he has power to contend with his oppressors and win. It gave him the courage to know that although slavery could hold one in form, through various means of apparent, and real bondage, it could not in fact contain and grip one's mind and spirit unless the enslaved person allowed it to do so.
Slavery was a horrible canvas that encompassed all of America whether the North or the South. It sought not only to tear apart a nation but also rather systematically break down and obliterate a culture of a people…