Frederick Douglass Rhetoric Analysis

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Whenever injustice exists in society, it becomes the responsibility of others to step forward in defense of the oppressed. If this action does not occur, then the injustice will remain and innocent people will suffer. In order to preserve equality, sometimes people must take a risk in order to reveal the truth and uphold justice. Individuals throughout history, such as the founding fathers, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., have faced this peril in the pursuit of freedom. In 1845, Frederick Douglass published Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in order to do just that- to establish the truth behind slavery and advocate for freedom. In his narrative, Douglass uses diction, structure, imagery, and other stylistic elements to persuade people of the evils that slavery inflicts on both sides of society.

In order to reveal the truth behind slavery, Douglass demonstrates his point through his use of diction and structure. Through his diction, Douglass uses words to illustrate the barbarity and inhumanity of slavery. For instance, Douglass describes slaveholders as “human flesh-mongers” and their actions as “fiendish barbarity” (Douglass, 21, 27). By using words such as these, Douglass shows his contempt for those responsible and informs the reader of the cruelty of slavery. He compares the slaveholders to barbarians, revealing them as the height of cruelty and wickedness. In addition, after watching the white men heartlessly rank slaves with swine and thoughtlessly divide families, he “saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both the slave and the slaveholder” (Douglass, 58). Douglass uses the word brutalizing to show how the power of owning another person turned the white brutal and inhuman. That they could commit these malicious acts on fellow human beings becomes incomprehensible, and he successfully communicates the terrible effects of slavery. In addition to his diction, Douglass uses structure to show...
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