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Frederick Douglass. Rhetorical Devices in. Birth of Logos. Logos = One’s reasoned argument. Exigence = The drive to speak Purpose Audience Logos. Rhetoric. Definition: the art of using words in speaking (or writing) to advance the author’s Logos so as to persuade or influence others.

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frederick douglass
Frederick Douglass

Rhetorical Devices in

birth of logos
Birth of Logos

Logos = One’s reasoned argument

Exigence = The drive to speak




  • Definition: the art of using words in speaking (or writing) to advance the author’s Logos so as to persuade or influence others

We study rhetoric for two reasons:

  • to perceive how oral and written language is at work
  • to become proficient in applying the resources of language in our own speech and writing
rhetorical devices
Rhetorical Devices
  • Definition: specific, identifiable language techniques used in rhetoric.
  • Two types of Rhetorical devices are
    • content-centered (what)
    • form-embedded (how) Speakers utilize form-embedded devices to emphasize content.
content centered pathos
Content-Centered: Pathos
  • Appeal to emotion
    • e.g., empathy, compassion, outrage
  • Example:
    • “…after rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor” (5).
content centered ethos
Content-Centered: Ethos
  • Appeal to common values and community expectations.
  • Ethos reflects…
    • Ethical values and/or the character or spirit of a culture
    • shared assumptions of a people
    • universal components of the human experience
  • Example:
    • “I would sometimes say to them [the white boys who helped Douglass learn to read], I wish I could be as free as they would be when they got to be men. ‘You will be free as soon as you are twenty-one, but I am a slave for life! Have not I as good a right to be free as you have?’ ” (23).
content centered irony
Content-Centered: Irony
  • A contrast between what is expected to happen and what actually happens
  • The general characteristic of irony is to make something understood by expressing its opposite
content centered irony1
Content-Centered: Irony
  • 3 types of irony in literature:
    • Verbal: a writer or speaker says one thing and means something entirely different
    • Dramatic: a reader or audience perceives something that a character in the story does not know (R&J example—Juliet is not dead…)
    • Situational: a writer shows a discrepancy between the expected results of some action or situation and the actual results (Of Mice and Men example—friendship/murder)
form embedded alliteration
Form-Embedded: Alliteration
  • Repetition of initial consonant sounds
  • Example:
    • “I nerved myself up again, and started on my way, through bogs, brier, barefoot and bareheaded, tearing my feet sometimes at nearly every step…” (40).
form embedded assonance
Form-Embedded: Assonance
  • Repetition of vowel sounds within a sentence or across several sentences
  • Example: How now brown cow? (Repetition of the vowel sound “ow”)
form embedded repetition
Form-Embedded: Repetition
  • Repeating of words and/or phrases throughout a passage or text for dramatic effect
  • Example:
    • “Work, work, work, was scarcely more the order of the day than of the night” (37-38).
form embedded parallelism
Form-Embedded: Parallelism
  • Repetition of a grammatical pattern
    • Used to emphasize and link related ideas
    • Adds balance, rhythm, and clarity to the sentence
  • Example:
    • “He [Covey] was always under every tree, behind every stump, in every bush, and at every window, on the plantation” (36).
form embedded antithesis
Form-Embedded: Antithesis
  • Establishes a clear, contrasting relationship between two ideas by joining them together, often in parallel structure
  • Example:
    • “The longest days were too short for him and the shortest nights were too long for him” (38).
form embedded apostrophe
Form-Embedded: Apostrophe
  • When a speaker addresses an absent person, an abstract quality, or something non-human as if it were present and capable of responding
  • Example:
    • “My thoughts would compel utterance; and there, with no audience but the Almighty, I would pour out my soul’s complaint, in my rude way, with an apostrophe to the moving multitude of ship: -- ‘You are loosed from your moorings, and are free…’ ” (38).
form embedded allusion
Form-Embedded: Allusion
  • A brief (usually indirect) reference to a person, place, or event, or to another literary work or passage
  • Example:
    • “In coming to a fixed determination to run away, we did more than Patrick Henry, when he resolved upon liberty or death” (51).
    • Patrick Henry: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” -from Speech in the Virginia Convention
form embedded hyperbole
Form-Embedded: Hyperbole
  • To utilize exaggerated language to call attention to the situation and/or to emphasize emotion
  • Examples: “I haven’t seen you in a century!” “That necklace must have cost you your life’s savings!”
form embedded oxymoron
Form-Embedded: Oxymoron
  • An expression in which two [or more] contradictory words are put together for dramatic effect
  • Examples: free slave; benevolent slave owner; oppressive freedom; benign dictatorship; cute ugliness
  • Note: An oxymoron can be clever or it can be an error in diction; the context makes all the difference.
form embedded paradox
Form-Embedded: Paradox
  • a contradictory statement which is nevertheless true or which reveals a truth
  • Example:

“It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own.” Herbert Hoover

form embedded compare contrast
Form-Embedded: Compare/Contrast
  • To examine the similarities and differences between two (or more) people, places, objects, ideas, or situations. Often the similarities are established to set up and emphasize the differences.
  • Example:
    • “There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holding the same rank in the scale of being, and were all subjected to the same narrow examination” (27).
form embedded figurative language or literary stylistic devices
Form-Embedded:Figurative Language or Literary/Stylistic Devices
  • Simile: a comparison between two different things using “like” or “as”
  • Metaphor: a direct comparison between two unlike things. Unlike a simile or analogy, metaphor asserts that one thing is another thing.
form embedded figurative language or literary stylistic devices1
Form-Embedded:Figurative Language or Literary/Stylistic Devices
  • Sensory details/imagery: images and details that emphasize or appeal to the five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, sound)
  • Personification: the act of giving human qualities to a nonhuman thing.
form embedded figurative language or literary stylistic devices2
Form-Embedded:Figurative Language or Literary/Stylistic Devices
  • Symbolism: any object, person, place or action that has a meaning in itself and that also stands for something larger than itself