Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - Rhetorical Modes

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In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass argues that slavery is wrong. He believes that slaves are not powerful enough to rise up and fight for their rights. However Douglass had the courage to escape from slavery and become a free man. He said, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” In his narrative, he uses pathos, logos and ethos to show how slaves were mistreated and didn’t have the strength to fight for freedom. Douglass uses narration as his main rhetorical mode and keeps a serious, dignified tone throughout the novel. Frederick Douglass uses all three of Aristotle’s appeals, pathos, logos and ethos, in the novel. He uses pathos to show how miserable slaves were throughout their lives. For example he tells how mothers and their babies are separated at birth to break a bond of affection. Douglass’s mother, Harriet Bailey, once traveled twelve miles at night just to see him. Douglas uses logos to show how slaves were unaware of basic rights and privileges that any human being should have. For example he believed it was wrong that he didn’t know his own age while other white kids were able to find out. Another example is how slaves were not fed enough food and how they were constantly starving. He believed slaves were humans just like anyone else, so they should get same amount of food as anyone else living. Douglass uses ethos to help identify himself to the reader. He talks in a serious manner so that readers would respect him and understand his need for change. Frederick Douglass uses narration as his main rhetorical mode. Narration works best because it sequences the events in Douglass’s life from the day he was a slave boy to when he was a free man. Narration helps the reader see clear sequences that Douglass witnessed separate from what was going on during this time period.
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