Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Doug Essay

Submitted By ashleynic97
Words: 934
Pages: 4

Ashley Washington
NFD Essay
13 November 2012 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Slavery has been one of the painful stains in United States history for over two hundred years. The quest for freedom has been a long road for many, but more for African slaves. Plucked from their homeland, being thrust into an unfamiliar territory, African slaves have fought to maintain their identity even though they were treated as property. In the autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Frederick Douglass focuses on the social and political issues of slavery by cleverly using literary elements such as imagery, figurative language and syntactical devices. Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland on February 17, 1818 and deceased on February 20, 1895 in Washington D.C. He was born a slave by his black mother Harriet Bailey and his white father, Aaron Anthony, his master. Throughout his childhood life, Douglass has seen slave brutality amongst his peers. He was shipped from several plantations, beaten and whipped, fought his master, and planned to escape the life of dehumanization. Douglass ascertained his destiny to be an abolitionist, and aspired to learn how to read and write. To start off, Douglass uses imagery in his autobiography to paint a picture of the mistreatment and hardship of African slaves. Frederick Douglass wife’s cousin, a “fifteen or sixteen year old girl” was murdered by the wife of Mr. Giles Hick for not attending to Mrs. Hicks’s baby. Mrs. Hick “seized an old stick of wood by the fire place, and with it broke the girl’s nose and breastbone” (Douglass 35). The reader feels horrified of Mrs. Hicks cruel mentality towards the teenaged girl. This is visual imagery that portrays a negative view on slavery and its violence. Another example, Douglass’s aunt, Aunt Hester was whipped for having an affair with Colonel Lloyd’s son, Ned Robinson (Lloyd’s Ned). He summoned her and she did not respond, so Anthony (Douglass’s father) “commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor” (Douglass 21). The reader feelings are in state of being terrified of Anthony for his ruthless actions. These are visual and touch imagery that creates a undesirable feeling in the scene. Furthermore, Mr. Covey was heartless towards Douglass. One day, Mr. Covey “took up the hickory slat (wooden board) with which Hughes had been striking off the half-bushel measure, and with it gave me a heavy blow upon the head” (Douglass 65). This makes the reader very disturbed by Mr. Covey’s performance and sympathetic for Douglass was helpless. This was a rising action that led Douglass to file a complaint and try to leave Mr. Covey. Another, Mr. Gore was an “obdurate” man. He shot Demby, a slave, for not listening to his master and “his mangled body sank out of sight, and blood and brains marked the water where he had stood,” (Douglass 33). The reader is disgusted by the inhumane mannerism of the slave owner. Mr. Gore’s name defines his character, gory behavior towards slaves. In addition, Douglass uses figurative language to describe the characters of the story. For instance, Douglass says “…like so many pigs they would come and devour the mush…” (Douglass 36). The reader feels sympathetic because they were not provided a spoon, but unsanitary items to pick up the mush. This quote is a simile comprised with diction such as “devour” and word jargon such as “mush.” Next, Douglass career in slavery had