Rhetorical Analysis of "A Narrative of the Life"

Topics: Rhetoric, Frederick Douglass, Allusion Pages: 2 (376 words) Published: February 13, 2012
Jorge Jirón
AP Language and Composition
Mr. McMurtry
14 February 2012
Task 1 + Narrative of the Life Outline
1) Frederick Douglass’ rhetorical purpose in Chapter 10 is to persuade his audience against slavery. Throughout the autobiographical account of his life, Douglass keeps his sentences very short, almost without emotions. By keeping these sentences short and the emotions dry, Douglass tries to emotionally detach himself from the audience in the attempt to create a more credible piece. If Douglass does not keep a sentence short, he will often interject with a comma for dramatic effect, letting the reader have a slight pause. 2) Frederick Douglass’ literary purpose in Chapter 10 is to portray the various flaws of slavery and how it is morally and physically atrocious. By using various pathos and ethos appeals, Frederick Douglass creates a credible persona while evoking sympathetic emotions within his audience. By using intense imagery to describe his gruel injuries, Douglass induces a sense of sympathy within his audience. By utilizing various biblical allusions such as, “the snake” and “a thief in the night” (957-958) Douglass produces a credible persona. Outline

Frederick Douglass’, “A Narrative of the Life” Chapter 10, is Douglass’ way of trying to expose the evils of slavery while creating a credible persona. Claim:
Frederick Douglass takes advantage of various pathos appeals to evoke sympathy within his audience. Evidence:
“…Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger” (956). Claim:
Besides his pathos appeals, Douglass also utilizes certain ethos appeals to create a sense of credibility within the audience. Evidence:
By referring to Mr. Covey as “the snake” (957), he compares him to the devil which is also portrayed by a snake in the story of Adam and Eve. His coming were “like a thief in the night” (957-958). This is also...

Cited: Douglass, Frederick. “Narrative of the Life, Chapter X.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Baym, Nina et al, eds. Shorter 7th ed. Vol. 1. New York: Norton & Company, 2008. 956-975. Print.
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