Rhetorical Analysis Of Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

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How do people continue to live when all hope is lost? How do they survive when they are dehumanized beyond the point of recognition? How do people watch friends and family be murdered as the killer rejoices? These questions are answered in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass, when he tells the story of his life as a slave in the South during the mid-nineteenth century and includes all the atrocious actions executed by religious slaveholders. Throughout his appalling journey, he maintains hope for freedom, which he receives after running away to the North. Douglass’ solemn tone, rhetorical devices, use of pathos and ethos convince the white Northerners into helping abolish slavery. The intended audience is white …show more content…
He explains “Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger” (35). This gruesome image provides an ethical and emotional appeal because it validates his life as a slave while also showing the dehumanization he endured. Although he was broken and beaten, he did not give up hope for freedom. He discloses how he “Continued to think, and to think about the injustice of my enslavement and the means of escape” (61). This repetition is incorporated into the narrative because it illustrates how often he thinks about the sweet release of freedom. His yearning for freedom lets the audience know that the slaves are not content with their current state of being. It also shows that slavery is an injustice that needs to be escaped, no matter what the risks are. Once he flees, he “felt like one who had escaped a den of lions” (Douglass 63). He is now using this simile to associate the slaveholders to vicious animals as an attempt to portray the merciless brutality that the slaveholders have. Douglass has become more blunt about the need for slavery to be