Essay On Slave Narrative

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“You have seen how a man became a slave; you shall see how a slave becomes a man” (Douglass). Slave narratives are non-fiction, written accounts of a slave’s personal experiences, often with the goal of winning Northern sympathy in an effort to end slavery. In a way, many authors of these documents can be considered sycophants, as authors commonly express their vitriol in an effort to gain support. As historical artifacts, these slave narratives elucidate the progression of white supremacy in the antebellum American South throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. More importantly, a slave narrative reveals its author’s invaluable first-hand perspective of slave life primarily in the American South. Narratives by slaves both before …show more content…
For example, narratives like Douglass 1845 Narrative brought out replies from his white audience that were later published in later editions of the novel. Douglass’s narrative revolves around multiple key themes: ignorance as a key component in the continuation of slavery, knowledge as the path to freedom, slavery’s damaging effect on slaveholders, and slaveholding justified as a perversion of Christianity. Douglass’ Narrative is scintillating in a way many others did not achieve. He is able to use complicated metaphors while still reaching his entire audience. For example, he compares his first encounter with slavery to “the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass” (7). Furthermore, he benefits heavily from pathos and logos, using these appeals as a vehicle to win his audience’s sympathy. Douglass also purposefully uses extremely detailed language in order to present readers with the clearest picture of his experiences. Douglass’ use of vivid imagery and relatively simple diction exploits these connections, without obfuscating his audience, in an attempt to gain support. Eventually, numerous black artists in the Harlem Renaissance furthered his …show more content…
Hughes’ “I, Too” is one of the most famous works of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote this poem from the perspective of an African American man – either a slave or a domestic servant. The poem’s message is not subdued by the lack of concrete identity and historical context; rather, it demonstrates the universality of the situation Hughes describes as it relates to many African Americans at that time. He starts off by declaring that he too can “sing America,” even though he is the “darker brother.” This alludes to the racial segregation in the early twentieth century, in which African Americans were stripped of many of what we label as basic human rights, including their freedom. Because of its clear, simplistic message, Hughes’s poem resonates with both his black and white

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