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Use of Literary Devices in

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Justin Myers

on 29 April 2014

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Transcript of Use of Literary Devices in

Allusion
Douglass alludes to the Bible in order to explain how slave owners justified slavery. He also uses it as backing for his argument that slavery is wrong.
Metaphor
Douglass uses metaphor in one particularly interesting instance in his narrative. When referring to Mrs. Auld's change in behavior, he says that "The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands and soon commenced its infernal work." (p. 36)
Imagery
Personification
In the narrative, while working under Mr. Covey, Douglass watches the ships sailing on the bay. While watching them, Douglass laments his position compared to the ships.
Douglass uses the irony of these statements to raise awareness of slavery. He intends to shock the reader with the cruelty displayed by this "Godly" man. This also supports his theme of slavery's ability to corrupt people.
Irony
The most powerful use of imagery in the narrative is when Douglass describes his Aunt being whipped by his master. He states, "He commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor." (p. 18)
This vividly portrays the corruption slavery induces as a poison. Douglass portrays slavery as more than an institution. It is portrayed as a terrible force that consumes and destroys everything involved with it.
His monologue contains phrases like, "You are loosed from
your moorings and are free; I am fast in my chains and am a slave! You move merrily before the gentle gale, and I sadly before the bloody whip! You are freedom's swift-winged angels, that fly round the world; I am confined in bands of iron!" (p. 57)
His repeated use of the word "you" describes the boats as
living people who are free. This personification emphasizes Douglass's desire to be free and his envy of anything that is.
Use of Literary Devices in
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and American Slave, Written by Himself
By Justin Myers

For example, he states that "God cursed Ham, and
therefore American slavery is right," as slave owner's arguments on page 17. He then states, on the same page, that "If the lineal descendants of Ham are alone to be scripturally enslaved, it is certain that slavery at the south must soon become unscriptural;for thousands are ushered into the world annually, who, like myself, owe their existence to white fathers."
This allusion gives Douglass credibility as it shows
how he can effectively refute common arguments.
This sentence describes in detail the horror that occurred in slavery. Early on in the story, it provides an idea of the terrible things that were happening all around Douglass.
Douglass uses irony to describe one slave owner named Mr. Hopkins. Douglass tells us that "there was no a man anywhere round, who made higher professions of religion, or was more active in revivals." (p. 67) Douglass also says, "Mr. Hopkins could always find some excuse for whipping a slave." (p. 67)
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