Learning To Read And Write Frederick Douglass Analysis Essay

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Frederick Douglass was born a slave in 1818 and he escaped slavery in 1836. In his narrative, “Learning to Read and Write”, Douglass describes the various steps and struggles he encountered as he learned to read and write. Douglass’ narrative is clearly an emotional piece as evidenced by his use of diction, intense words and imagery. Analyzing Douglass’ emotional appeal through his diction, word choice and imagery will clarify how he conveyed his message, the inhumane treatment of slaves, to his audience.
To understand Douglass’ diction and imagery, the audience and purpose have to be identified first. The audience of Douglass’ message were abolitionists, who were white people from the north who did not own slaves and wanted to abolish slavery. The purpose of Douglass’ message was to inform abolitions of the inhumane treatment of slaves and to continue making progress in freeing slaves. Douglass’ first use of an emotional appeal was the mood he created for his audience to feel, which was
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He felt frustrated at the various steps he had to accomplish learning to read and write. He then felt agony because learning to read had shown him “a view of my wretched condition, without remedy” (Douglass 103). Douglass wanted his audience to understand the complex issue of slavery and to do more to change it.
In comparison, the tone Malcolm X used to captivate his audience was anger. Malcolm X felt angry at the treatment of African Americans after they were freed by white people as evidenced by this passage in “Learning to Read,” “Four hundred years of black blood and sweat invested here in America, and the white man still has the black man begging for what every immigrant fresh off the ship can take for granted the minute he walks down the gangplank”(1007) He uses an angry tone to invoke outrage from his audience while Douglass uses frustration and agony to invoke sympathy from his

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