This is your Douglass test. Douglass will also be on your semester exam, so you’re going to hang on to the book for now. While I am reading primarily for content and demonstration of knowledge, your ability to write clear, unambiguous



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This is your Douglass test. Douglass will also be on your semester exam, so you’re going to hang on to the book for now. While I am reading primarily for content and demonstration of knowledge, your ability to write clear, unambiguous, correct prose matters. I will drop you a full letter grade if you misspell Frederick Douglass’s name!

Respond to two of the first 6 prompts in a short essay (300-400 words). Everyone MUST respond to the last prompt re life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in a short essay.

Please post your responses on the Period 6 Blog. Be sure that your opening sentences clarify which prompt you are responding to. I encourage you to read each other’s posts. Your post may actually build upon what you read in someone else’s post, but you’re not just responding.


  • “Prior to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty” (32).

Explain and find examples. Then comment.

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  • Find examples in Chapter 9 of diction (word choice) to convey meaning. Hint: look for animal imagery and examples of irony.

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  • “Mr. Covey succeeded in breaking me. I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!” (38).

What is the pervasive imagery? How does Douglass achieve this? Specifically, what use of words and syntax does he use? Is this passage a persuasive piece of rhetoric against slavery? Rhetoric relies on pathos, logos, ethos, and awareness of audience. Is Douglass effective in this passage? Explain.

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  • “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man” (39).

What does Douglass mean? What is the importance of this sentence for the novel as a whole? How does Douglass utilize rhetoric here? (What literary techniques are used in this sentence?)

  • “I felt as I never felt before. It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom. My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the da has passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me” (43).

Discuss Douglass’s use of language. How does he use religious references? What are the contrasts? How does this passage as a whole contrast with the one from page 38 when he describes being broken by Covey.

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  • Identify at least two examples of Douglass’s courage (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical) following his “turning point” on page 43. Think about his time, audience, and purpose. How do these examples further enhance his humanity and consequently draw his reading audience to acknowledge his humanity? (Think about the three rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, logos)

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  • EVERYONE respond to the following question:

How does Douglass’s story embody the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness – the right which the Declaration of Independence granted to all but slaves and women?


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