A Portrait Of Slavery : Expression Through Rhetoric Essay

1078 Words Aug 22nd, 2016 5 Pages
A Portrait of Slavery: Expression Through Rhetoric Rhetoric in language is used to express ideas and emotions that otherwise couldn’t be truly understood. Similes and metaphors are often found to be the most commonly used of the figures of speech, and this is none more evident than in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. He puts into words things most people can’t even imagine. Living life under the complete and absolute control of another human being. A place where having an independent thought was dangerous and an opinion was a death sentence. Through his writing, Frederick Douglass effectively uses similes and metaphors to truly express the depth of slavery and its effects. At the beginning of the narrative, the book is still in its first phrases, but we already are seeing the horror of slavery. Frederick Douglass states a simple fact that was a normal part of life to him, but to anyone else it would be unimaginable. He says, “By far the larger part of the slaves knows as little of their ages as horse knows of theirs,” (Douglass 1). This simile is terrifying, not its words, but its implication. This is a comparison of slaves to animals. As if a slave were not even worthy of the title of personhood, so they must resort to a comparison of a beast. In fact, later in the tale when his old master died Douglass was ranked alongside animals themselves to determine his value. This simile was used effectively to stress the lack of humanity and decency…

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