Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay

966 Words Sep 10th, 2016 4 Pages
Christie Chaplin
Learning to Lead: Rhetorical Strategies in Frederick Douglass’s “Learning to Read”
Published in 1845, Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, is a historical account of his life that told of the challenges and obstacles that plagued the lives of slaves in pursuing freedom from injustice and persecution from white wealthy slaveowners. In particular, an excerpt titled “Learning to Read” shines a light on the tragic reality African Americans lived in every day during the 19th century. The circumstances surrounding the restriction of growth and development centered around the limited availability of education, or lack thereof. Frederick Douglass uses the Aristotelian appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos to build his credibility and connect with the audience on a more personal note, though he struggles with primarily focusing his paper by appealing to popularity. Nevertheless, he is successful in employing these strategies to tell a riveting memoir documenting his struggles in learning how to read and write to speak out against the injustices of slavery.
Douglass’s ethos is never more apparent than the preface preceding the story. This introductory note provides a rich background of Douglass’s life as a former slave and transformation into a famous abolitionist, serving as authentication that the piece was written by a literate and educated African American. For instance, in an excerpt from the preface,…

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