Fredrick Douglass' Use Of Rhetorical Devices Essay

342 WordsDec 10, 20102 Pages
Fredrick Douglass first states that the songs slaves sing as they walk to the Great House Farm represent the slaves' happiness, but as later revealed through rhetorical devices, they show the inevitable distress of a slave. Depending on their hard work and labor, some slaves were granted the privilege to go to the plantation’s main house, and have a change in routines from their regular torturous duties. As described by Douglass, “The slaves selected to go to the Great House Farm, for the monthly allowance for themselves and their fellow-slaves, were peculiarly enthusiastic.” (3). The plantation’s main house, known as the Great House Farm, was idealized by all slaves of the plantation as a utopia, this is why it was a great honor for a slave to go there. The selected slaves would proudly sing songs and chants to demonstrate their enthusiasm as they traveled to the Great House Farm. As Douglass relived his slave memories, he realized that the songs sung by the slaves as they walked towards the Great House Farm did not reveal their sense of eagerness, but instead released all their suffering and pain caused by slavery. Douglass, through repetition and personification, states “They [the songs] told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over the bitterest anguish.” (4). The author explains that the songs in a depressing and deep tone representing their sadness of being enslaved opposed to being a freed man. Douglass very artistically states how the song’s true meaning was beyond its literal content, and actually contradicts his previous thought that the songs showed a sense of happiness from the slaves. When Fredrick Douglass remembered those songs the slaves used to sing, a feeling of happiness would no longer cloud up his mind, but instead

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