Analysis Of Frederick Douglass 's ' The Meaning Of July Fourth For The Negro '

916 Words Oct 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
Frederick Douglass’s “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” reveals the apparent hypocrisy present in celebrating America’s day of freedom, when some of its people do not get to share in that same freedom. He points out the millions that are still under the antiquated institution of slavery, and states their obvious inability to see this nation as free. In his speech, he expresses this “negro” perspective by utilizing diction, tone, figurative language, and various rhetorical schemes to enforce his case of the injustices against these people.

Douglass’s use of antithesis in the first paragraph indicate the inherent hypocrisy in the concept of slavery. Antithesis is the balanced pairing of two opposites, and which lends itself to showing how something as binding as slavery exists in a country the values and celebrates its freedom. The two concepts are opposites of one another, and Frederick Douglass’s repeated use of antithesis highlights this. For example, in the very first sentence we see, “ above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions.” While the nation celebrates with “tumultuous joy”, Douglass gives us the perspective of those who are unable to celebrate their freedom, due to their lack thereof. He further highlights the hypocrisy with comparing, “God and the crushed and bleeding slave”. These two are quite different, with “God” representing a sense of purity and hope, and “the crushed and bleeding slave” representing despair. His…

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