What are 2 examples from Douglass's Narrative in which he uses sentimentalism and/or emotion to manipulate the reader?

1 Answer | Add Yours

teachertaylor's profile pic

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

Posted on

In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass uses emotional manipulation on a few occasions to affect his reading audience.  First, Douglass makes an apostrophe to the passing ships in Baltimore.  He compares his life to the "lives" of the ships, stating that the ships are free while he remains in bondage.  The apostrophe has a tone of remorse as Douglass makes a bid for freedom. 

In another part of the narrative, Douglass tells the reader about his grandmother and how she was expelled from the plantation and sent to live in a house by herself in the woods.  Douglass laments this treatment of his grandmother, a woman who spent her entire life rearing the slave children on the plantation only to be sent out into the wilderness to starve to death. 

These two passages present a shift in tone from the majority of the narrative which is written in a more objective tone and style.  The apostrophe to the ships and the description of Douglass's grandmother grab the hearts of the reading audience and sway favor for Douglass as the narrator.

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question