Rhetorical Analysis Frederick Douglass

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How can emotions be described in a way that inflicts the reader with the same fog of feelings as it afflicts the writer? In pieces of heavy emotion, specific language is often used to convey the author’s condition of mind. One such emotional passage is Frederick Douglass’s recount on his feelings after escaping slavery and arriving in the free state of New York. Douglass uses specific language, such as figures of speech- namely metaphors and imagery- and syntax and word choice, as tools to convey his states of mind throughout the passage.

Imagery and metaphor are used heavily throughout Douglass’s recount. In telling how he felt immediately upon his arrival at New York, Douglass says, “I suppose I felt as one may imagine the unarmed mariner to feel when he is rescued by a friendly man-of-war from the pursuit of a pirate. In writing to a dear friend, immediately after my arrival at New York, I said I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions” (Douglass). Douglass compares himself to the saved victims of pirates and the prey of lions to convey the sheer relief and exhilaration that he felt at his escape from slavery. Later, as he slips back into suspicion, Douglass uses imagery to project his fear at there being a dark side to his freedom. In responding to those who say they sympathize with him, Douglass
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Imagery and metaphor are used extensively by Douglass to convey his initial and later stages of mind towards his escape to freedom. Syntax and word choice is used to further his descriptions of his states of mind through contrasting phrases and specific descriptive words. Douglass’s constant theme of predator vs. prey is therefore made apparent, making this piece a true psychological statement on the effects of such a change on the psyche of