Douglass Annotations Chapter 1 & 2



Ten Evidence and Commentary Annotations (5 for each chapter) addressing Douglass’ purpose behind his employment of diction (word choice), his use of emotional and logical appeals, and/or tone.


Evidence: Whatever textual evidence you have chosen from the chapter

Commentary: Douglass utilizes the words/phrases, “…,” “…,” and “…” in order to highlight the fact….

Douglass employs vivid images utilizing the words/phrases “…,” “…,” and “…” because he wants the audience to know/see/feel/think

Douglass utilizes diction, such as “…,” “…,” and “…” because it enables his audience to…

Douglass juxtaposes the idea that “…” with the fact that “..” in order to imply that…


Douglas uses the words “I have no accurate knowledge of my age” and “by far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages” to stress on how far the masters have gone to keep their slaves in the dark and arrogant on issues. He claims slaves only know as much as their masters want them to, which is usually planting time and harvesting time. This is use of sarcasm to stress a point. A point that slaves have been deprived of privileges (Douglass, 1845)

Douglas claims his master had an overseer whose name was Mr. Plummer. He describes Mr. Plummer as a “miserable drunkard, a profane swearer, and a savage monster”. To further support his allegations on Mr. Plummer, he said he knows the man to “cut and slash the women’s heads so horribly” that “even the master would be enraged at his cruelty”. But he claims the “master, however, was not a humane slaveholder” and wouldn’t bother with such things (Douglass, 1845). He uses these descriptions to show how the entire system is messed up and unjust against the slaves.

Douglas paints the picture of a cruel master by saying that he would wipe the naked back of her aunt till she is literally covered with blood. To further stress on the poor living conditions of the slaves, he says “there were no beds given to the slaves, unless one coarse blanket be considered as such”. He uses satire at this point by saying one coarse blanket is the only ‘bed’ the slaves were given.

While painting the picture of colonel Llyod, he describes him as a rich man “equal to describing the riches of job” (Douglass, 1845). He further uses irony by saying he owned many slaves that he didn’t even know some and equally some didn’t even know him. He gives a satirical conversation between one of his slaves and him who had no idea he was the master and spoke ill of him in his presence.


Douglass, F. (1845). Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass: An American Slave Written by

Himself. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office.