Rhetorical Analysis of “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass

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Rhetorical Analysis of “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass wrote many autobiographies, editorials, and speeches. His greatest piece is probably the book Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass. In this book he talks about his life as a slave and he makes numerous arguments against slavery. Upon a closer reading, Douglass, by metaphors and personal anecdotes, appeals to the three rhetorical appeals Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Later in the first chapter Douglass talks about his aunt Hester. Hester disobeyed their owner and he started to punish her.”… He led her to a stool under a large hook in the joist, put in for the purpose...” (Douglass pg4) Made her get on top of the stool tied her to the hook and “…he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin and soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor…” (Douglass pg 5) “I was so terrified and horror-stricken at the sight, that I hid myself in a closet and dared not to venture out till long after the bloody transaction was over.” (Douglass pg 5)With this quote he is subtly saying “If you want to know about slavery I can tell you about slavery because I was there, I lived it.” For the fact that he was there and witnessed this event gives him ethos. Around the middle of the second chapter Douglass talks about an overseer named Mr. Severe. Mr. Severe was the overseer of Colonel Lloyd’s, who was Douglass’ owner, plantation. “Mr. Severe was rightly named: he was a cruel man. I have seen him whip a woman, causing the blood to run half an hour at a time; and this, too, in the midst of her crying children, pleading for their mother’s release.” (Douglass pg 7) Again this same situation where he is telling the audience that he knows what he is talking about because he witnessed and lived it so therefore he has enough credibility to talk about it. This quote shows that he knows exactly what he is talking about so he has the ethos to tell the audience what a slave’s life was...
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