Imagery of Disgust, Vulnerability, and Separation
Frederick Douglass once said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” If there was any one person who experienced this first-hand, it would be Frederick Douglass. In his narrative, Douglass writes of many struggles faced by slaves during their confinement to slavery and the progress that came from them. When writing of these struggles, Douglass uses many rhetorical strategies in order to persuade the reader into thinking a particular way about slavery. A particular strategy which Douglass uses is imagery. Imagery, the use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas, is frequently used in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass uses imagery order to persuade the reader to stop slavery. Frederick Douglass uses imagery in his narrative in order to cause the reader to develop disgust for actions taken upon slaves by their masters. Slaves were terribly treated by their slave masters during slavery. Many times, Slaves were whipped and punished for no reason. Slave whipping could have been done merely out of displeasure to the master or for taking too much food during the evening meal. In order to portray this message, Douglass uses imagery when writing about the beatings and whippings of his aunt. Mr. Plummer, the overseer of Captain Anthony’s plantation, is said to have taken great pleasure in whipping a slave. Frederick Douglass writes, in the beginning of the narrative, that he awoke many times by the “heart-rending shrieks” of his own aunt who Mr. Plummer would “tie up a joist, and whip upon [Frederick’s aunt’s] naked back till she was literally covered with blood. (Douglass 3)” The reader is captured by the gruesome imagery which Douglass illustrates in portraying the scenes of a slave-whipping. Writing of these events paints a clearer picture in which the reader is able to learn the true and...
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