Slavery is a humongous topic involving both slaves and former slaves. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Story is one such story. Douglass suffered punishments, and watching others get punished, he uses those experiences to make his argument against slavery.Douglass’ tone in the narrative is sarcastic and dark. Frederick Douglass successfully uses vast quantities of rhetorical devices, illuminating the horror and viciousness of slavery, including the need to eliminate it.
In the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave, written by himself, the author argues that slaves are treated no better than, sometimes worse, than livestock. Douglass supports his claim by demonstrating how the slaves were forced to eat out of a trough like pigs and second, shows how hard they were working, like animals. The author’s purpose is to show the lifestyle of an American slave in order to appeal to people’s emotions to show people, from a slave’s perspective, what slavery is really like. Based on the harsh descriptions of his life, Douglass is writing to abolitionist and other people that would sympathize and abolish slavery.
Frederick Douglass, the author of the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass was a self-taught slave that was able to escape the brutality of slavery in the year of 1838. Frederick Douglass’s book is separated into 3 main sections, including, a beginning, middle, and end. The purpose of the narrative is to improve the audience's understanding of Douglass’s experience of being a slave, the horrible treatment slaves received, and how Douglass was able to overcome and escape slavery. All throughout the narrative, Douglass uses many rhetorical devices, including, diction, imagery, and syntax, which helps the audience understand, one of his main chapters, chapter 5. In this chapter Douglass implies that the overall purpose is to emphasize the animalistic, inhuman treatment slaves received, how Douglass felt about leaving Colonel Lloyd’s plantation, and his luck of being able to move to Mr. and Mrs. Auld's.
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.
The “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” is an autobiography in which Frederick Douglass reflects on his life as a slave in America. He writes this book as a free slave, in the North, while slavery was still running its course before the Civil War. Through his effective use of rhetorical strategies, Frederick Douglass argues against the institution of slavery by appealing to pathos and ethos, introducing multiple anecdotes, using satirical irony, and explaining the persuasive effects of slavery and reasoning behind keeping slaves uneducated.
Douglass characterizes slave owners as fierce and wild animals such as tigers and snakes; he characterizes slaves as simple farm animals such as horses, cattle, and pigs (49). By comparing slaves and slave owners to these different types of animals, he contrasts their traits. Slave owners were seen as powerful, and beastly; while slaves were seen as powerless and very weak.
In many works of literature, many archetypes (or symbols) are used to help the reader understand the story of a hero’s quest. In the Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, the hero has to go on a fatal journey to uphold the reputation of Camelot. While enduring that journey, Gawain has to conquer many trails. Gawain’s succession of trials leaves the hero, like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, a “sadder but wiser man.” With all the trials that Gawins intakes, many archetypal characters contribute to the theme of the story.
Archetypes are universal symbols used in literature to represent fundamental human motifs. In the medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the hero must undergo archetypal situations to succeed in his quest to redeem the honor of Camelot. Gawain embodies the transcendent hero as he further goes into “The Zone of Magnified Power” (Campbell 71) then faces conflict resulting from the threat placed on the society. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight dramatically demonstrates how a single character can play many archetypal roles.
With every corner we turn in today’s culture, we become more and more aware of the archetypes that surround us. Archetypes are the works of a typical character, situation, setting, or symbol that can be found in fantasy and reality. An example would be the renowned medieval story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Pearl Poet. The author permeates the story with situational, symbolic, and character archetypes that illustrate the profound life of Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain was apprehensive of his journey at first, but as time passes, he began to make choices that unveils to the audience the true flawed knight that he was.
Through his diction, specifically the use of “wicked desires,” “own lusts,” and “cunning arrangement,” Douglass clearly identifies the evil within the master’s acts. Douglass logically explains why “my master was my father,” by presenting the details of what happens to the children of slave women. Within this logos-driven passage, however, is a strong emotional appeal. The factual representation of what happened in these cases is corrupt within itself, and through his wording, Douglass attacks slavery and the acts of his master. Laws themselves made slaveholders the slave’s fathers, and Douglass exposes the inhumane concept of being born into slavery.
When Douglass was a young boy, he witnessed for the first time a slave getting whipped, Douglass's first encounter was of extreme cruelty that slaveholders can have. The slave receiving the whipping is Douglass' Aunt Hester. By witnessing this Douglass sees that slaves are treated no better than animals, they lived in continuous fear of being beaten if they did not behave. The issue of freedom is here as well. Do these animals have more freedom then themselves, it seems so. The slave owners dehumanized the slaves with the power of the whip, showing the horrors of traditional slavery and property they have over slaves.
Society’s systematic dehumanization of slaves claims that their lives are not their own, but rather belong to their oppressors. For instance, Jacobs’s cousin Benjamin decides to escape from his masters who equate him and his people to “dogs, […] foot-balls, cattle, [and] everything that [is] mean” and taunts them by saying, “Let them bring me back. We don’t die but once” (27). By metaphorically comparing slaves to dogs and pieces of property, he reveals how little slave owners care about their charges. Rather than remaining under the control of such oppression, Benjamin decides to live and die on his own terms at the risk of capture and punishment, because
Early American Literature reflects many conflicting differences in the presentation of slavery during that time period. Through the two chosen texts, the reader is presented with two different perspectives of slavery; Frederick Douglass’s narrative provides a look at a slave’s life through the eyes if a slave while Benito Cereno showcases the tale of a slave uprising from the viewpoint of the slave owner.. Benito Cereno’s work shows the stereotypical attitude towards African-American slaves and the immorality of that outlook according to Douglass’s narrative. Cereno portrays the typical white slave owner of his time, while Douglass’ narrative shows the thoughts of the slaves. The two stories together show that white Americans are oblivious to the ramifications and overall effects of slavery. These texts assist a moralistic purpose in trying to open up America’s eyes to the true nature of slavery by revealing it’s inhumanity and depicting the cruelty that was allowed.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave details the progression of a slave to a man, and thus, the formation of his identity. The narrative functions as a persuasive essay, written in the hopes that it would successfully lead to “hastening the glad day of deliverance to the millions of [his] brethren in bonds” (Douglass 331). As an institution, slavery endeavored to reduce the men, women, and children “in bonds” to a state less than human. The slave identity, according to the institution of slavery, was not to be that of a rational, self forming, equal human being, but rather, a human animal whose purpose is to work and obey the whims of their “master.” For these reasons, Douglass articulates a distinction
The traditions of storytelling have long been used as a means to impart wisdom and life lessons to others. One of the most effective ways in which this is done is through the use of archetypes. While it is possible to look at these images in a general way, one may also focus an analysis on a single tale. In this way it is possible to explore the particular images used and their significance in a given situation, (often a coming of age rite of