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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

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Caleb Cunningham

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

1. How does Frederick Douglas use rhetoric throughout his narrative to promote the ideals of freedom?
Why is universal education necessary for a free society?
Why was Douglass considered "radical" when published? Is it still?
How did the south justify slavery?
Frederick Douglass uses rhetoric throughout his narrative to illustrate the evils of slavery. On age 5, he writes; "And soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor". He uses imagery to terrify the reader about the torture that would go on at these plantations. On page 19, he uses metaphors that slavery changed Mrs. Auld from a kind woman, to a woman full of hatred and disgust. On page 20, he uses personification to show the mind set of a slaveholder.
Douglass's narrative was radical when it came out because it shined some much needed light on the true horrors of slavery. It began to open peoples eyes and it helped bring slavery to an end. It is still radical today, because it is hard to imagine that at one point in time, we used to not consider other human beings as equal. It shows the way that our nation has evolved immensely.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
Caleb Cunningham

To what extent was Douglass able to change the national set of values through individual actions?
Frederick Douglass was able to change an entire nations set of values through his narrative. On pages 4-5, he writes about the brutal whipping of his Aunt that he witnessed as a child. That passage stunned many people, including abolitionists. In pages 28-29, Douglass writes about his grandmother and her loyal service throughout her entire life. When she got too old, they put her in desolate cabin in the woods for her to die alone. He uses the n-word throughout the novel, for it was just commonplace for African-Americans. Today, you would never be able to get away with that.
How is education related to human freedom?
Douglass makes it very important that education is related to freedom. The slaves were not given an education, so they had no way to speak up for themselves or handle a bad situation. All they could do was conform to this horrific system. On page 20, Douglass realizes that his new master was frightened to know that Frederick had been learning how to read. Auld knew that if he gained an education, there would be no stopping Douglass.
Frederick Douglass uses many rhetoric devices to promote the ideals of freedom. Among them, he uses metaphors, personification and antithesis. In page 17, he states that his home on Colonel Lloyd's plantation was charmless. Douglass uses personification in that sentence to show that even at a young age he yearned to be free, by showing he felt detached from everything at that plantation. On page 20, he writes; "That to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good". Douglass knows that it is important for every one to recieve an education, which is a big part of having freedom. On page 63, Douglass writes; "The wretchedness of slavery, amd the blessedness of freedom...", stating that having freedom was greater than any slave had ever thought of.
How does Douglass use rhetoric throughout his narrative to illustrate the evils of slavery? According to Douglass, what were some of the effects of slavery upon the enslaved? Upon the slaveholder?
Universal education is necessary for a free society, because it is what gives us our individuality. HREA.org states that education just improves the quality of life. Having a sense of individuality is what makes going through life so great. You get to build your own thoughts and opinions. Without it, Douglass would not have been able to escape, and would have lived the rest of his life as a slave.
The south justified slavery through the bible and dehumanizing African-Americans. Throughout the narrative, Douglass writes about his disgust how men would use something that is trying to make you be a good person, and instead using it for the exact opposite purpose. Some men would lash the slaves and then recite passages. The south also dehumaized slaves, so that way they would be more like property than actual human beings. Men did this by not giving slaves an education, not giving them enough food or clothes, and making them work endlessly for all of their lives.
Work cited
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=144
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