What to a slave is the fourth of july


Frederick Douglass employs several rhetorical devices and appeals in his speech "What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?" to effectively communicate his message. One of the rhetorical devices he uses is irony, particularly when he questions the meaning of the Fourth of July to a slave. This day, which is celebrated as a symbol of freedom and independence, is a stark reminder of the gross injustice and cruelty that slaves endure. This irony serves to highlight the hypocrisy of a nation that celebrates liberty while denying it to a significant portion of its population. Another rhetorical device Douglass uses is repetition. He repeatedly uses phrases like "your celebration is a sham," "your boasted liberty, an unholy license," and "your national greatness, swelling vanity." This repetition emphasizes the disparity between the ideals America professes and the reality of its actions, reinforcing his argument about the nation's hypocrisy. In terms of rhetorical appeal, Douglass uses pathos, or emotional appeal, to engage his audience. His vivid descriptions of the suffering of slaves, such as "the mournful wail of millions" and "the crushed and bleeding slave," evoke strong emotions of sympathy and outrage. This emotional appeal is designed to stir his audience into action against the injustice of slavery. By using these rhetorical devices and appeal, Douglass effectively communicates his message and critiques the institution of slavery in America.



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