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Analysis Of The Narrative Of Frederick Douglass By Frederick Douglass

1142 words - 5 pages

In The Narrative of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, an African American male describes his day as a slave and what he has become from the experience. Douglass writes this story to make readers understand that slavery is brutalizing and dehumanizing, that a slave is able to become a man, and that he still has intellectual ability even though he is a slave. In the story, these messages are shown frequently through the diction of Frederick Douglass.
In this narrative, Douglass describes his life as a slave in ways that is brutalizing and dehumanizing. He wants his readers to understand that concept. By doing this, Douglass writes, “I was seized with a violent aching of the head, ...view middle of the document...

Douglass also uses diction to prove to readers that a slave is able to become a man, no matter what experiences they have had. In the story, he writes “Mr. Covey seemed now to think he had me, and could do what he pleased; but at this moment — from whence came the spirit I don’t know — I resolved to fight; and suiting my action to the resolution, I seized Covey hard by the throat; and as I did so, I rose. He held on to me, and I to him. My resistance was so entirely unexpected, that Covey seemed taken all aback” (419). The word choice of this quote such as whence, resolved, suiting, seized, resistance, and entirely unexpected help demonstrate the message of Douglass explaining to readers the courage he gained to stop backing down as a slave and stand up for himself as a man. Frederick Douglass writes, “Covey at length let me go, puffins and blowing at a great rate, saying that if I had not resisted, he would not have whipped me half so much. The truth was that he had not whipped me at all. I considered him as getting entirely the worst end of the bargain; for he had drawn no blood form me but I had from him” (419-20). Douglass describes the battle between him and Mr. Covey so in depth because it made him realize that he is in control of Covey even if Covey will not admit it, therefore making him a man instead of being Mr. Covey’s property. He shows this by using words like resisted, puffing, whipped, considered, and worst end bargain. In the narrative, he also writes, “This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self- confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free” (420). Douglass finishes the narrative strong by including empowering words and phrases such as turning point, expiring embers, revived within, manhood, self-confidence, and determination to be free. This superb vocabulary of his helps him get his message across to the readers from becoming a man out of being a slave. Douglass's diction helps express the message of a slave having the ability to become a man.
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