Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Logically Emotional Appeal Essay

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Logically Emotional Appeal

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, is a moving written account of Frederick Douglass’ harrowing experiences as a slave, and his journey into freedom. In his critical essay “Douglass and Sentimental Rhetoric,” Jefferey Steele argues, that despite being objective, Douglass’ account is mixed with Pathos, complicating the straightforward chronicle. While pathos is evident in the text, it does not complicate the memoir’s straightforwardness. In fact, Douglass’ straightforward tone naturally co-exists with the pathos in his story. Douglass’ logically driven narrative is emotional within itself, and by providing the logical sequences he creates pathos, because
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Through this logically and emotionally driven piece of literature, Douglass attacks the ethics of the time as he faces his largest dillema- defining himself as a person. Slavery made Douglass feel less-than human, and his thirst for knowledge is derived from his desire to be a valued citizen in both his own, and society’s eyes. As the memoir progresses, Douglass is subject to more and more torture. At one point, Douglass decides that he will be treated as a slave no longer. He states, "My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me" (113). This excerpt if filled with pathos, taking the reader to Douglass’ emotional climax as he eventually conquers his master. However, it is through pathos that the ethics of slavery are questioned. Slavery made a man decide he would rather die than be whipped, because of what that meant to him. Douglass had been through the pain several times, but it was the ethics of the matter that pained him worse than death could. Douglass attacks the entire constitution of slavery here, and in the ensuing fight, he proves