Narrative of Frederick Douglass Ch7 Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In Chapter 7 of The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Douglass focuses mainly on the “curse” of being able to read and think. Ms. Auld gave Douglass the inch to learn by teaching him the alphabet, therefore resulting in his desire to learn more. After learning Douglass struggles with the reality of being aware of everything, especially of what white men did, because it was easier to understand. “Douglass’s depressed tone expresses his feeling towards being able to read as a “curse rather than a blessing.” It made him realize his “wretched conditions”, and often at times made him wish he had killed himself or “done something to get himself killed.” This gives off a sorrowful feeling as to the mere thought that Douglass would want to take his own life just because he knew how to read. He should have been proud of himself, but instead he became aware of things he most likely wished he didn’t and began to overthink.

Douglass’s scholarly diction emphasizes what he had learned from reading and thinking. Most slaves were never able to actually read and fully understand what they were reading, Douglass on the other hand took the initiative, after Ms. Auld was forbid to teach him any further, to make friends with the “white children” and learn more. As he learned more he understood more and was able to put that into this chapter very well. By using words such as “commenced” and “divest”, Douglass gives off a sense that maybe his learning to read was not “a curse rather than a blessing.”

In chapter 7 of The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Douglass’s varied, yet detailed syntax offers more evidence that learning to read was not a “curse.” By using elaborate sentences, such as “The slave was made to say some very smart as well as impressive things in reply to his master –things which had the desired though unexpected effect; for conversation resulted in the voluntary emancipation of the slave on the part of the master,” shows that Douglass can read a book and explain,...
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