Homework Help

What figurative language does Douglass use in his book Narrative of the Life of...

user profile pic

barak1224 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 11, 2009 at 1:30 AM via web

dislike 3 like

What figurative language does Douglass use in his book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave that shows a deeper meaning?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:57 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

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.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes