Frederick Douglass Final Assessment Essay
To modern America, the idea of slavery seems horrifying. It is, in their eyes, an institution that is a dark remnant of the past and that is to be fought against at all costs now. However, Americans weren’t always so vehemently against slavery and in fact, many used to not know the reality of the atrocities that occurred on various southern plantations. It’s been because of the slave narratives in the United States that the American public has come to realize the horrifying nature of slavery and thus, that has led to increased political activism. One slave narrative in particular that helped spread awareness of slavery in the United States was Frederick Douglass’ “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”. Due to his exceptional use of language through the argumentative methods of irony, allusion, and imagery, Douglass succeeds in arguing for his main claim: the idea that slavery ultimately hurts all those who are exposed to it and so, must be banned.
The first method that Douglass uses to argue his claim is irony. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” is full of ironic examples and passages, all which serve to expose the true horrors of slavery. In particular, Douglass presents ironic characters as a way of letting the audience know about the almost inhuman characteristics of slavery in the United States. One example of this is the character of Mr. Severe. Douglass writes, “Mr. Severe was rightly named; he was a cruel man." (7) Although it seems relatively simple, the above sentence presents an ironical juxtaposition that intensifies the audience’s potential reaction to this character and his role in slavery. Thus, this example of irony illustrates the way that Frederick Douglass used irony to highlight the severity of characters involved in and the general institution of slavery. Another example of similar irony is when Douglass writes, “Mr. Gore was a grave man, and, though a young man, he indulged in...
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