Frederick Douglass paints a clear picture in his narrative for people to see how slaves did not get to experience the luxuries of freedom, even after their escape of slavery. He compares the hardships of slavery and the blessedness of freedom, yet does not emphasize a lot of joy towards his freedom in New York. Douglass’ intentions were to not only stress the wretchedness of slavery but to also emphasize the fear he held inside from his tortured past. Therefore, Douglass implies a paranoid tone in addition to a joyous tone to the reader when he describes life as a freed slave.
Through the use of diction, Frederick Douglass enables the reader to experience the hardships he faced in his new world and understand the “money-loving kidnappers” lie in wait for the “panting fugitive” as the “ferocious beasts of the forest” wait to capture their prey. The fugitive is said to be panting in order to symbolize a slave running in panic while trying to escape a brutal slaveholder, or in this case a “ferocious beast”. The simile describing the slaveholders as ferocious beasts helps clearly paint a suspenseful picture for the reader to think about. During his new life in New York Douglass claimed he was a “perfect stranger”, “surrounded by darkness” and filled with a feeling of “great insecurity”. “Darkness” refers to the dark world he lives in now, where he is insecure because he is a “perfect stranger” and extremely paranoid of running into a past slaveholder. He is insecure because he does not know how to trust anyone after all that he has been through, therefore making him feel alone in a dark world.
The author’s use of imagery gives the reader a visual of all the torture and pain he had to overcome. He left his “chains” and ran away as a “panting fugitive”, fearfully escaping the cruel and determined slaveholders. The use of the word “chains” gives the reader a clear picture of a tortured slave finally breaking free from his terrible