Frederick Douglass 's ' The Heroic Slave ' Essay

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The ideology of slavery coerces its victims and masters alike to adhere to its theatrical and illusory mindset, as both actors are ingrained with the idea of a dichotomy between the powerful and powerless. Throughout Frederick Douglass’s novella, “The Heroic Slave,” Douglass underlines the heartfelt interaction between the white observer Mr. Listwell and the eloquent slave Madison Washington, altogether providing a call to action on the faults of slavery. Although his novella may seem too serendipitous upon first glance, it nonetheless exposes Douglass’s adamant view against the wretched condition of slaves through the fervent actions of abolitionist, Mr. Listwell. In contrast, within Herman Melville’s novella “Benito Cereno,” the author utilizes his white “intermediary” Captain Delano as a biased and oblivious character to reveal the instilled ideology of slavery during the mid-1800’s, essentially allowing the reader to contemplate the power dynamic between slave and master. Through the complete difference in the character of the white men, namely Douglass’s optimistic Mr. Listwell and Melville’s patronizing Captain Delano, both works have a dissimilarity between the mutinies and differences in approaches when speaking about the subject of slavery. The former character is prominently straightforward, whereas the latter character serves as a focalized third-person viewpoint on slavery and merely offers a dramatized commentary on the binary of black and white. Therefore,…

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