douglass2 - Edwards 1 Victor Edwards Prof, McDade American...

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Edwards 1 Victor Edwards Prof, McDade American Lit 1 June 27, 2011. Frederick Douglass- Simplicity in Style and Tone The easiest way to deal with the subject of slavery is to lay the worst critiques out by Frederick Douglass himself in “The narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) done by Robert B. Stepto and published by Chelsea house in 1988. What marks Douglass's narration and control of his tale is his extraordinary ability to pursue several types of writing with ease and with a degree of simultaneity. The principal types of writing we discover in the tale are syncretic phrasing, introspective analysis, internalized documentation, and participant-observation. Of course, each of these types has its accompanying authorial posture, the result being that even the telling of the tale yields a portrait of a complex individual marvelously facile in the tones, shapes, and dimensions of his voice. Douglass's syncretic phrasing (syncretism - A type of revitalization movement in which elements of two or more cultural sources are blended into a new and more satisfying cultural arrangement) is often discussed, and the passage most widely quoted is probably “My feet have been so cracked with the Edwards 2 frost that the pen with which I am writing might be laid in the gashes.” The remarkable clarity of this language needs no commentary, but what one admires as well is Douglass's ability to startlingly conjoin past and present and to do so with images that not only stands for different periods in his personal history but also, in their fusion, speak of his evolution from slavery to freedom. The pen, symbolizing the quest for literacy fulfilled, actually takes measure of the wounds of the past, and this measuring
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process becomes a metaphor in and of itself for the artful composition of travail transcended. While I admire this passage, the syncretic phrases I find even more intriguing are those that pursue a kind of acrid punning upon the names of Douglass's
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This note was uploaded on 07/30/2011 for the course LIT 231 taught by Professor Mcdade during the Spring '11 term at Texas Southern.

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douglass2 - Edwards 1 Victor Edwards Prof, McDade American...

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