Frederick Douglas Essay, Research Paper
September 3, 1838 marks the first day of freedom for Frederick Douglass. On this first day from the wretchedness of slavery, Douglass felt the blessedness of freedom. However, he soon finds that his free life will not always be blessed. Through figures of speech and syntax, Douglass conveys both a blessed and excited state of mind and an insecure and lonely state of mind.
When questioned about his feelings upon becoming free, Douglass s response was that he was in a moment of the highest excitement [he] ever experienced. The sentences that describe this state of mind are clear and simple. He stated his feelings easily by beginning sentences with I have. The simple sentences help to convey a positive, happy state of mind. He writes these with few commas or dashes, which shows how sure he was about his positive state of mind. Figures of speech also play a factor in developing this state of mind. When Douglass escaped slavery, he describes his feelings with similes. He likened himself to an unarmed mariner who was rescued by a friendly man-of-war from a pirate. He also says he felt as if he had just escaped a den of lions. In both of these cases, if Douglass had simply said he was excited because he had escaped slavery, his message would not have evoked the same strong feelings his words did.
This state of mind very soon subsided, and Douglass again felt great insecurity and loneliness. The longer sentences of this state of mind contain dashes, which show the importance of each phrase they separate. This section contains a lot of feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, and fear, which can be seen in the long sentences. The last sentence in particular is very long-half of the paragraph-, with each phrase equal in importance, equal in showing the insecurity and loneliness Douglass feels. Douglass fears everyone because amongst the brethren are also money-loving kidnappers. This is one of the many figures of speech found in this section. Again Douglass uses similes to illustrate this state of mind. Douglass was afraid to say anything because the kid-nappers were like ferocious beasts waiting for their prey. Every white man was an enemy and black men were not trusted. He is a fugitive slave in a strange land a hunting ground where anyone can kill him. In these figures of speech, if Douglass had simply said that he was in a new place with people searching for him it would have stated the same thins, but the effect would not have been as great. His fellow-men were like hideous crocodiles seizing upon their prey. He is constantly chased by legalized kidnappers. This oxymoron illustrates that as a fugitive slave, he can be kid-napped and the kid-nappers, rather than being punished, would be rewarded. In the last sentence Douglass begins a phrase with something he wants such as bread , and then saying why he can t have it-he has no money to but it. Each phrase is similar in this pattern, beginning with something that he wants or that is accessible to him, and then saying why he can t have it. He is among fellow Men , but feels as if he is amongst wild beasts and monsters who swallow helpless fish. These men are not just enemies. Douglass s words illustrate it these men in a more intense way.
Frederick Douglass conveys an excited sate of mind as well as a lonely, excited state of mind. Although he is free from slavery, he is not free from the world. He asks the reader to sympathize with him, but to so, he says, requires living as a toil-worn and whip-scarred fugitive slave.