Early in the narrative, Douglass described his Aunt Hester being cruelly whipped and his own terror as a seven year old who happened to be at the scene. He uses details to describe the violence in a way that raises the reader's emotion of horror against the evils of slaveowners having so much power over other human beings. After witnessing part of it, such as seeing her aunt's hands bound over her head, seeing the blood running down her bare back, and hearing her screams, he sneaks off. He wants to manipulate the reader's emotions, especially through choosing to show a woman (rather than a man) whipped and its effects on an innocent child. He is emotional as he writes:
I was so terrified and horror-stricken at the sight, that I hid myself in a closet, and dared not venture out till long after the bloody transaction was over.
Douglass expresses sentiment too when he discusses the woeful lamenting that characterizes the song of the slave:
Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek.
The adult Douglass cries as he remembers the slave's singing. In this case, he wants to most strongly to state that the songs the slaves sang were not happy because, as he mentions, the singing of the slaves was often used by whites to argue that the slaves were happy. Douglass wants the reader to know that these songs expressed anguish and pain, never joy.