Well-known American Slave, Frederick Douglass, in his book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, illustrates the horrific and dehumidifying effects and conditions of slavery. Douglass’ purpose is to reveal the struggles of his life and to stress that many others are in need of help through the abolition of slavery. He creates a tone of hopelessness that transforms to promise in order to depict the scenes to the readers so they can feel the pain and torture that he survived. Douglass begins his passage by describing the hopelessness of his situation through imagery and repetition.
Through his imagery, he was TABLE to convey strong messages to his audience. He explained, “From the crown of my head to my feet, was covered with blood. My hair was all clotted with dust and blood; my shirt was stiff with blood. My legs and feet were torn in sundry places with briers and thorns and were also covered with blood” (Douglass 78). Douglass is using imagery to depict himself as helpless as possible so that his master Will be sympathetic and move him to a safer environment. Even though he did not move, he describes his situation to make his readers feel like they were in his shoes, therefore; aging them feel empathetic.
He uses this technique to convey how appalling the conditions are for slaves. The use of repetition and the word “blood” stands out to the reader and it keeps exclaiming that his blood is everywhere; he is covered in it. The picture that this creates in one’s mind is a horrifically repulsive image, a young man covered from head to toe in blood, as gruesome as a zombie. Not much could possibly go worse for him. It makes the audience want to help in some way and bond together to stop slavery and the horrible, atrocious, and inhumane treatment of African Americans as well.
Douglass also uses syntax to emphasis the fact that slavery is not something that can be put up with any longer. His different sentence structure kept the audience alert. He stated, “Master Thomas ridiculed the idea that there was any danger of Mr.. Coveys killing me, and said that he knew Mr.. Covey, that he was a good man, and that he could not think of taking me from him; that, should he do so he would lose the whole year’s wages; that belonged to Mr.. Covey for one year and that I must go back to him, come what might; and that must not trouble him with any more stories, or that he would himself get old of me” (78).
He uses long run-on sentences to show that he has much to say on this topic and must put it all on paper. Everything that Douglass is saying is important and must be heard by everyone in his attempt to stop slavery. The run-on sentence makes the audience pay attention and think about what just happened. Italianization was used to emphasize the phrase “get hold of me. ” This phrase could be applied to many different situations and possibilities, and therefore leaves the punishment open for interpretation. It leads the audience to assume the most cruel because Douglass’ life is gruesome already, and not much could make it worse.
The tone of hopelessness continues as he describes his first six months at Coveys. He explains, “l started off to Coveys in the morning, wearied in body and broken in spirit (79). ” Douglass is now completely broken and has no thoughts of freedom left in him. He has never felt so much like a brute before. He was never TABLE to fully grasp the concept of a “slave for life” until this moment. Nothing is in his control. He has no hope left and it sinks into the audience that his situation might not develop into a better ending, one tit happiness, joy and delight.
Douglass also uses schism’s to create different sentence structures. He explains, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man” (76). Some of his manhood was finally gained back because he does not think of himself as a slave anymore-he is now considered a man. The feeling of hopelessness finally transitions to determination once Douglass realizes he has the power to fight back. He wanted to be TABLE to live a better life, and one day he persevered, showing this with diction and syntax. He stated, “He asked me if I meant to persist in my resistance. Old him I did, come what might; that he had used me like a brute for six months, and that I was determined to be used so no longed’ (81). Through Douglass’ use of semicolons, he was TABLE to successfully combine different sentences to Create a more powerful situation. Because he put persist and determined together in the same sentence, it reinforces how much he not only wants, but needs freedom, at least of his mind. He repeats the connotation because it emphasizes each other, making the words both stronger in meaning. Frederick Douglass chose to end the passage with a tone of hopefulness through pathos and diction.
Even though Douglass still is a slave and is still owned for years after, the mindsets inside of him changed, and using pathos-his feelings were projected onto the audience. He exclaimed, ‘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” (82). Everything is finally looking up for him, freedom and future he is thinking of. He no longer considered himself a brute, but a man, a man who may not be a slave for life, and who, someday could be as free as a white man in the North.
Douglass also made the audience feel hopeful using powerful diction. His word choice completely changed the audiences’ emotion. “Rekindled” shows that everything within him is changing to this positive connotation of freedom. He continued to tug at his readers’ emotions and finally is positive with a possibility of freedom. Frederick Douglass successfully changed his tone from hopelessness to determination and finally up to hopefulness using many different techniques including syntax, schism’s, and imagery. He finally was TABLE to regain some of his manhood and dignity back, which also let the audience feel hopeful for what is to come.