Fourth Of July Analysis

1108 Words 5 Pages
In Hill’s “Critical Essay: Mr. Douglass’s Fifth of July.”, he explores the historical importance of Frederick Douglass’s “4th of July” speech. Before we can go into how the speech was examined, however, it would be best to look at the actual speech. Like the title says, this speech was not given on the Fourth of July, which fell on a Sunday that year, since it was a custom of that era prohibited secular events on the Sabbath. The speech was organized the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York the Monday after the 4th of July. At this point in time the spokesman, Frederick Douglass was well know as a speaker. Douglass (1818-95) born into slavery, escaped at age 20 and went on to become a internationally …show more content…
The author of the critique on Douglass’s speech said that the “Fundamental to the effect of the speech is pity: pain at a destructive or painful evil when it comes on those who do not deserve it.” (Hill 2005.) Douglas used this pity to fill the audience with a basis of anger that is then directed towards a person: a slave owner. This emphasis on emotion is especially well done when Douglass uses words such a “see” and “hear” to really put the audience in an actual position of being in one of his vivid memories from the day when he was a slave. Hill states that Douglass’s style of speech (his rhetoric) uses parallel sentences to associate one gigantic justice with a major …show more content…
Not just in the order it was given, but the day, word choices, and audience. First, he used the holiday to his advantage by stringing together a logical series of events that made it seem impossible to look at the Fourth of July in the same light. His word choice kept the audience engaged, using techniques such as hyperboles and anaphora; something I had previously only associated with poetry. After reading Hill’s dissection of the speech, I had to go read it for myself. Reading the analysis beforehand helped me read the speech from a different level. I now knew the key pieces that it took to put this speech together. I could read the speech and understand every minor detail that made it so convincing. Douglass went in with a purpose, to answer the question: “What, to the slave, is the Fourth of July?” I truly think that he did an astounding job. If this model of speech was taken and used today with current topics, it would still have the same level of

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