Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

A Larger Purpose 11th Grade

For Frederick Douglass, his Narrative was more than just a powerful story that would go on to be incredibly famous and influential. Telling his story was a major contribution to the abolitionist campaign, therefore, conveying the disgusting realities of slavery was hugely important. Douglass needed to evoke the sort of emotions that would help the cause that was most important to him. As a fantastically eloquent writer with a heart-wrenching story of unbelievable tragedy, he was in just the position to have this effect. The way Douglass mindfully used language is impressive and it is obvious that every description within the Narrative was designed to have a specific effect. His deliberately nonchalant statements regarding tragedies and progressively more evocative descriptions of violence all contributed to his effort to win over the reader and communicate, to their full extent, the horrors of slavery.

The way Douglass opened the Narrative, communicating the slave’s acceptance of horrible facts with his subdued language, is perfectly followed by bold proclamations challenging other truths of slavery. The actual words he used were powerful ones that not only showed his own intellect as a slave but persuaded his audience. These...

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