In the 1800’s since Frederick Douglass was a slave he didn’t get the opportunity to learn how to read and write.
If a white person or slave-holder were caught trying to teach a slave, ‘it was almost an unpardonable offense’ as Douglass states. Douglass wants to tell the readers about the troubles he had to face to learn how to read and write and to discover the justice he strives to taste.
Douglass wrote this for a purpose, one being to educate others in what he had faced in learning how to read and write. It took Douglass years to learn how to read and write. He would only learn a few letters or words at a time which is why it took him many years to learn. He learned in a few different ways, one being self-taught from the lumber on the ships, another way by giving bread to kids and they would then give him knowledge as he would call it, and also by telling kids he could write more letters than they could.
‘Thus, after a long, tedious effort for years, I finally succeeded in learning how to write’.
Slaves were the intended audience for this passage. Slave-holders are another part of the audience Douglass intended this passage to be read by. He wrote this for slaves to inform them that they deserved justice. ‘What I got from Sheridan was a bold denunciation of slavery and a powerful vindication of human rights’. They should not be slaves it is their God-given human right to be free.
Since slaves weren’t allowed to read and write they didn’t really understand what was going on around them. They just had to trust what they were told. Which kept them from their freedom.
Even though Douglass wants to learn how to read and is happy he did he mentions, ‘As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing’. It’s clearly emotional because he now felt like he had learned to much about slavery since he started reading and wanted to be free more now than what he did before. Another example of an emotional appeal would be, ‘I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead; and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should have killed myself, or done something for which I should have been killed’. This is an example of an emotional appeal because anytime we’re dealing with death its an emotional topic. It makes sense that it’s emotional because he’s wishing himself dead and out of existence.
Douglass showed a logical appeal when he first started wanting to learn how to write ‘The idea as to how I might learn to write was suggested to me by being in Durgin and Bailey’s ship-yard, and frequently seeing the ship carpenters, after hewing, and getting a piece of timber ready for use, write the timber the name of that part of the ship for which it was intended’. Douglass logically pieced together what letters went with the parts of the ship, he logically put two and two together teaching him how to write thus showing the logical appeal.
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