What figurative language does Douglass use in his book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave that shows a deeper meaning?
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Frederick Douglass uses several types of figurative language in his narrative one of which is allusion. Specifically, Douglass makes many Biblical allusions in the narrative to question the interpretation of Biblical passages in their support of slavery. Early in the narrative, Douglass discusses the phenomenon of slaves multiplying on plantations because masters had gotten into the habit of having intercourse with their female slaves. Douglass says that if nothing else, the new class of biracial people "will do away with the force of the argument, that God cursed Ham, and therefore American slavery is right." Douglass makes an allusion to the passage in the Bible where Ham is cursed for seeing his father naked. It had been a widely held belief that Africans and other black people are the decendents of Ham, which was therefore used as a justification for enslaving them. Douglass, however, challenges this idea by stating that many slaves were the decendents of white overseers. His challenge reveals the deeper meaning regarding the false justification of slavery and the moral ills that support the institution.
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