Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Logically Emotional Appeal

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Logically Emotional Appeal

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, is a moving written account of Frederick Douglass’ harrowing experiences as a slave, and his journey into freedom. In his critical essay “Douglass and Sentimental Rhetoric,” Jefferey Steele argues, that despite being objective, Douglass’ account is mixed with Pathos, complicating the straightforward chronicle. While pathos is evident in the text, it does not complicate the memoir’s straightforwardness. In fact, Douglass’ straightforward tone naturally co-exists with the pathos in his story. Douglass’ logically driven narrative is emotional within itself, and by providing the logical sequences he creates pathos, because the events in his life were so traumatic. Within the subtext, the combination of pathos and logos attacks the ethical dilemma of his life- of slavery, education, and identity, creating a piece masterfully interwoven with logos, pathos and ethos. It is the combination of the three which makes his work so effective.

Throughout his memoir, Douglass explains the social norms within slave culture, and the laws he had to follow. He is specific when explaining events, and consistently presents the logic behind them. For example, when describing the master-slave relationship, Douglass states "The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to their own lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable; for by this cunning arrangement, the slaveholder, in cases not a few, sustains to his slave the double relation of master and father” (49). The logic behind this...
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