Frederick Douglass Elusiveness Of Freedom

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Slavery’s roots have long been a part of the America’s past, and continue to play a role in its development. Though many slaves suffered for their entire lives, some few were fortunate enough to get that taste of freedom they so deserved and shape their new lives in the direction they desired. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Frederick Douglass examines the elusiveness of freedom through his transformation from an ignorant slave-boy into a knowledgeable and self-aware man. Frederick Douglass examines the ever-eluding ideas of freedom through symbolism, education, and how to move forward once one has attained this freedom.
Throughout his narrative, Douglass paints the elusiveness of freedom through different
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Before he learned to read, Douglass was blind to the dehumanizing effects of slavery and how a slave’s ignorance was necessary for the institution to work. However, his transformation into a self-aware man is foreshadowed through his first thoughts when learning how to read. He voices these brewing thoughts by saying, “The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers,” (Douglass 40). Learning to read was his escape and every new thing he learned was a step towards the freedom that had always eluded him. However, after he began to be educated and could understand the things going on around him, Douglass couldn’t rid himself of the notion that his life should hold something more. Therefore, freedom was the next logical step in his life and he describes this obsession when saying, “The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom had now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition,” (Douglass 41). He explains, through this strong appeal to pathos, that once he was introduced to the idea of freedom, it became his life’s goal to attain it, and nothing would ever compare to the need of feeling free. His description of the want for for freedom being in every fiber of …show more content…
Though, happy with his escape from a life of slavery, Douglass is conflicted in his feelings towards his new life and shows how he grew into being a man with his own will. He displays this inner conflict when responding to questions about his feelings upon escaping slavery, saying, “I suppose I felt as one may imagine the unarmed mariner to feel when he is rescued by a friendly man-of-war from the pursuit of a pirate,” (Douglass 107). He uses this simile to paint a picture in the minds of the readers about how confused and scared he was about this new life he had stepped into. Though he wants to start his life anew, Douglass doesn’t know who he can trust and therefore must only count on himself for food, shelter, and employment, fearing that he might be taken back to the horrors of enslavement at any time. To explain to the readers the fear that he had felt in this moment in time, Douglass urges them to imagine themselves in his position: “Let him be a fugitive slave in a strange land—a land given up to be the hunting-ground for slaveholders... let him place myself in my situation,” (Douglass 108). Through these hortative sentences, Douglass effectively appeals to pathos by conveying the extreme danger he was in, as well as the fear that had struck him so deeply. He emits the soul-crushing effects of slavery that were even present in the

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