How does Frederick Douglass rebuke the romantic image of slavery in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass?  

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his narrative, Frederick Douglass rebukes the romantic image of slavery by using vivid imagery to describe situations that he has witnessed.  Additionally, Douglass uses specific diction to develop these scenes.  For example, in the fourth chapter of the narrative, Douglass tells the reader about Mr. Gore who replaced Mr. Hopkins as overseer on Great House Farm.  Mr. Gore was a tyrant and felt that the lives of slaves were meaningless when compared to the reputation of the overseer.  Douglass recounts the story of Demby, a slave who waded into a nearby creek to soothe the pain of a whipping given by Mr. Gore.  When Demby refused to come out of the water, Gore shot and killed him.  Douglass writes, "His mangled body sank out of sight, and blood and brains marked the water where he had stood."  This line paints a vivid picture in the mind of the reader and is all but romantic.  By painting the harsh image of reality, Douglass is able to rebuke the romantic image of slavery.

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