Rhetorical Appeal of Fredrick Douglas

In: English and Literature

Submitted By fjbrown92
Words 933
Pages 4
Freeman Brown
Dr. J. Jones
English 112
23 September 2013

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, is a powerful piece that flings the reader into disgust of slavery from the very instant he starts writing. In doing so, he directly appeals to the readers emotions and continues to do so at various times throughout the story. Douglass also uses a logical appeal about midways his story. Implying freedom as common sense, he begins to rhetorically provoke the reader to question the morality of slavery.
Within the very first paragraph written by Frederick Douglass, the reader is subjected to tidbits of the pitiful situation he and other slaves were in. He writes “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant.” (Douglass, 17) That statement both dehumanizes them by comparing the life of a slave to that of an animal, and establishes aversion toward those who owned slaves. It makes one feel sorry for him. Perhaps, even allowing you to think, “Awe, poor guy doesn’t even know how old he is.”
Douglass is indeed upset while writing this and intends to induce anger within the reader as well, for the purpose of abolishing the evil that is slavery. He is sure to expose the desires of slave masters by throwing them at fault to the deed of withholding such pertinent and common information. Surely one in high social standing, in this time, would be well aware of the 1780 act toward the gradual abolition of slavery. The act stated that a slave would be freed once reaching the age of twenty-eight. This, of course, would prompt slave owners to use bigoted tactics to deprive their subjects from knowing their age. For instance, punishing those who inquired of such and supplying false justification. It is…...

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