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Frederick Douglass Essay Essay

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Paper type: Essay Pages: 4 (796 words)

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Frederick Douglass has finally managed to run away from one of his masters to become a free slave, but yet he feels fear and paranoia. As he runs away, he contemplates all the possibilities of him getting caught by slaveholders or even turned in by his own kind. And it upsets him having to pass all the houses and food, but he has no shelter and starves with no food. This in fact heightens the intensity of his fear and paranoia because he is more likely to be caught with no where to hide and having no energy to run because he is starving.

In The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, he utilizes things such as parallel syntactic structure, paradoxes, figurative language, and caesuras to help portray his feeling of built up unease and terror.

Frederick Douglass really takes advantage of parallel syntactic structure to compare his situation of being run away to slaves. Frederick tries to get us to feel empathy in his current condition, while also speaking of the slaves.

He says “-wanting shelter and no one to give it-wanting bread, and no money to buy it […]” (Douglass 137). This seems more difficult to live with than having somewhat of shelter and having a bit of food, rather than Douglass having neither. He gets readers to question such things as, would one turn in a man in such need as? Would one understand more if one knew how it was to be in my condition? And this gets people to understand his despair and distress.

Douglass uses his paradoxes in a creative way. Where he uses parallel syntactic structure, he also utilizes paradoxes. On page 137, where he says “-wanting shelter and no one to give it-wanting bread, and no money to buy it […]” (Douglass). His use of contradiction is quite effective because it is hard to have all the things you want and need in one’s face, but one can not have it. For example, if a person wanted a new bike and one was just sitting there in their house waiting for them to take it, but their father was standing next to it and if he saw them touch it they would be grounded. And the bike was just sitting there taunting them. The paradoxes get people to understand how irritating it is to be passing by all these necessities stay you need to live and survive, taunting you as you pass by.

While Douglass is running away, he relates slaves and hunting slaveholders, using figurative language, to wild beast and himself to the helpless prey. On page 136, Douglass says “…as hideous crocodiles seize upon his prey!” He says this because he feels so defenseless that he feels like a little animal going to be eaten. With all the slaveholders and there guns and all slaves that might turn him in, he doesn’t really stand a chance with no where to hide and running out of energy. In addition, on page 137 he says “…famished fugitive is only equaled by that with which monsters of the deep swallow up the helpless fish upon which they subsist,” In this he basically saying it is only a matter of time before they find him and take him in. He can’t really run from them with how hungry he is, he has no energy and no hope that he could out run them if he tried.

On pages 136 and 137, caesuras are applied multiple times throughout these pages to conduct a sense of his worry and anguish. He says like “…in total darkness as to what to do, where to go, or where to stay -perfectly helpless both as to the means of defense and means of escape-“ (Douglass 137) The breaks leave you kind of hanging because you don’t know if at the end of the next break he could be caught or even shot. And that is where the worry builds because while he was running away he didn’t either if at any second a slave would show up and turn him in. Or a slaveholder would shoot him from behind a tree. So a person really get into his shoes as a run away slave and sort of feel what it is like.

Frederick Douglass really utilized these devices well. They all help build the reader to become like a fugitive slave just as he was. Relating slave and slaveholders to animals, and putting all the caesuras help the reader feel all the unease he felt because it was exactly how he was feeling. You would think at first that he was free now, and all his problems were gone yet they are still there. All the devices he used really help you come to that conclusion.

You may also be interested in the following: learning to read and write by frederick douglass, learning to read and write frederick douglass thesis, learning to read and write frederick douglass purpose, frederick douglass learning to read and write summary

Cite this page

Frederick Douglass Essay. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/frederick-douglass-essay

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Paper type: Essay Pages: 5 (1073 words)

Views: 254

“What he most dreaded, that I most desired.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.48) Frederick Douglass states that knowledge and literacy are great forms of power. Slaves are considered property and are not treated with respect, and in his novel, Douglass expresses how he was able to overcome the altercations that he had to face contrasting it with how important it is to be literate. From being a former slave for life, to the education that his masters revoked from him, this man’s life was filled with hardships.

In this novel, Douglass expresses the importance of knowledge by describing how he was able to learn, read, and write ,also what he discovered by becoming literate.

This essay focuses on the ways literacy played an important role in his life, how knowledge can occasionally make you feel badly, and how knowledge being suppressed from those who are slaves affected the running of the slave system in the United States.

“There can be no freedom without education.” This sentence was written by a slave named Fredrick Douglass. During slavery, “masters… keep their slaves thus ignorant” (Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass pg.19) therefore, to keep them from rebelling against their owners and causing chaos throughout the south. Douglass writes how he was unable to continue receiving the education that his mistress started to provide him with because her husband instructed her to do otherwise. “A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. If you teach a slave how to read, they would become unmanageable and have no value to his master.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.47)

The mistress’ husband understood that by maintaining slave’s grasp of knowledge the owners will constantly have them under control. If slaves were informed that there was something called abolition which would provide them with freedom, then they would cease to stay on the land of their owners, and even more importantly, not allow their owners to own them and rebuttal. But something happened in Douglass’ life that assisted him to chase after the power of knowledge. With the sudden change of his mistress treating him as a man of no rights from previously portraying him as an equal caused an upset to the slaves owned by her husband. Douglass, however, started to discover what potential his knowledge could actually do for him. He states, “Nothing seemed to make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper. She seemed to think that here lay the danger” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.51) By Douglass being capable of reading he realized the more he read “the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.53) Douglass’ literacy allowed him to understand what freedom is and his “determination to be free” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.81) only continued to grow. Frederick Douglass’ life was affected poorly by being literate at first. By reading different literature pieces like The Columbian Orator, Douglass discovered that there was a hope for him to become a free man. However, “Learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing.” (Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass pg.53)

Douglass displays how terrible he feels for not being able to do anything to free himself. He sometimes wishes that he was as ignorant as his fellow-slaves, who were used to their condition of not being aware that there was something that could potentially bring them freedom. He states, “I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!”(Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.73) These statements Douglass shows how the idea of freedom tormented him and turned him violent. Being so close, but yet so far from freedom causes him to suffer. The knowledge which he has acquired is of no use when he is a slave and seems to be a useless attribute. However, Douglass does in fact “finally succeed in making…escape from slavery” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.103) his freedom allows him to speak his mind and put his knowledge to good use.

Although he is free, Douglass does not turn his back on “a brother slave”. (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.103) Instead, Frederick Douglass has “been engaged in pleading the cause of my brethren.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.117) Many of these slave women and men are trapped by slavery. African-Americans were continually restrained of their freewill and forced to live a life of serving the “White Man”. “It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.23). Controlled by white men, slaves were trained to believe that they were inferior to the owner. “There were no beds given to the slaves, unless one coarse blanket to be considered such, and none but men and women had these.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.26) The slaves were controlled by their lack of knowledge and fear of the Master. “By far the larger part of the slaves knows as little of their ages as horses know of theirs.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 19) Ignorance also played a major role in the controlling of slavery.

Every master was well aware that they needed to know almost everything, and the slaves had to know almost nothing. This would allow the slave owners to not worry about a revolt against them, since education was not offered nor was it allowed on the slaves own time to partake in learning. The slaves were convinced that “a still tongue makes a wise head” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 34) since that was what they were told to think. By slaves having no education and no opportunities to speak freely the slave system flourished. “A single word from the white men was enough-against all our wishes, prayers, and entreaties-to sunder forever the dearest friends, dearest kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.58)

You may also be interested in the following: learning to read and write by frederick douglass, learning to read and write frederick douglass thesis, learning to read and write frederick douglass purpose, frederick douglass learning to read and write summary

Cite this page

Frederick Douglass. (2016, May 13). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/frederick-douglass-essay

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