Chapter 10 Passage Analysis - Blanpied, Felps, Salmon, Varghese

Report
Evan Blanpied, Ben Felps,
Julian Salmon, Jason Varghese
Passage Chapter: 10
Page: 59
Our house stood within a few rods of the Chesapeake Bay, whose broad bosom was ever white with sails from every
quarter of the habitable globe. Those beautiful vessels, robed in purest white, so delightful to the eye of freemen, were to
me so many shrouded ghosts, to terrify and torment me with thoughts of my wretched condition [1]. I have often, in the
deep stillness of a summer's Sabbath, stood all alone upon the lofty banks of that noble bay [2], and traced, with saddened
heart and tearful eye, the countless number of sails moving off to the mighty ocean. The sight of these always affected me
powerfully. 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 ships:-"You are loosed from your moorings, and are free [3]; I am fast in my chains, and am a slave! You move merrily before
the gentle gale, and I sadly before the bloody whip! You are freedom's swift-winged angels, that fly round the world [4]; I
am confined in bands of iron! O that I were free! O, that I were on one of your gallant decks [5], and under your
protecting wing! Alas! betwixt me and you, the turbid waters roll. Go on, go on. O that I could also go! Could I but
swim! If I could fly [6]! O, why was I born a man, of whom to make a brute! The glad ship is gone; she hides in the dim
distance. I am left in the hottest hell of unending slavery. O God, save me! God, deliver me! Let me be free! Is there any
God? Why am I a slave? I will run away. I will not stand it [7]. Get caught, or get clear [8], I'll try it. I had as well die
with ague as the fever. I have only one life to lose. I had as well be killed running as die standing. Only think of it; one
hundred miles straight north, and I am free! Try it? Yes! God helping me, I will. It cannot be that I shall live and die a
slave. I will take to the water. This very bay shall yet bear me into freedom. The steamboats steered in a northeast course
from North Point. I will do the same; and when I get to the head of the bay, I will turn my canoe adrift, and walk straight
through Delaware into Pennsylvania. When I get there, I shall not be required to have a pass; I can travel without being
disturbed. Let but the first opportunity offer, and, come what will, I am off. Meanwhile, I will try to bear up under the
yoke [9]. I am not the only slave in the world. Why should I fret? I can bear as much as any of them. Besides, I am but a
boy, and all boys are bound to some one. It may be that my misery in slavery will only increase my happiness when I get
free. There is a better day coming."
Annotation 1
“Those beautiful vessels, robed in purest white, so delightful to the eye of freemen,
were to me so many shrouded ghosts, to terrify and torment me with thoughts of my
wretched condition.”
Douglass uses antithesis by contrasting the pure white, delightful
boats that free men see to the shrouded ghosts that he sees. He
emphasizes the vast differences in daily life between the free and
the enslaved, as the deep, lasting effects of slavery cause slaves to
experience terror from things as simple as seeing boats, which
most people take joy in seeing. Douglass’ strong lust for freedom
causes him to experience this pain.
Return to passage
Annotation 2
“I have often, in the deep stillness of a summer's Sabbath, stood all alone upon the lofty
banks of that noble bay”
In this sentence, Douglass uses alliteration through his repetition
of the letter “s”. By employing this rhetorical device, he conveys
the idea that a slave lives powerlessly and in solitude, allowing
the reader to better understand the suffering that he has
experienced throughout his life. Repetition in this case implies
that his suffering is never ending.
Return to passage
Annotation 3
"You are loosed from your moorings, and are free”
This is an example of apostrophe. Douglass uses this rhetorical
strategy to express his deep longing for freedom by talking
directly to the boat. The boat is his symbol for freedom, as it can
sail wherever it pleases without restrictions. This contributes to
the novel’s overall message of hopefulness for a free life and an
end to slavery.
Return to passage
Annotation 4
“You are freedom's swift-winged angels, that fly round the world”
In this sentence, Douglass employs the rhetorical devices of
apostrophe and metaphor by speaking to the boat, referring to it
as a “swift-winged angel”. The boat is able to sail around the
world freely, just like an angel. He is conveying his envy of the
free status of the boat, desiring to become free himself.
Return to passage
Annotation 5
“gallant decks”
In this case, Douglass uses personification to describe the boat as
“gallant”. He sees the ocean as vast and mighty, and as a result,
he describes the boat that enters at its own risk as brave and
daring. Douglass is envious of the gallant boat, and one day
hopes to break the chains of slavery and obtain freedom.
Return to passage
Annotation 6
“O that I could also go! Could I but swim! If I could fly!”
Parallelism is used in this passage through repetition of the word
“could”. This parallelism furthers his tone of yearning and desire
for freedom because the word “could” implies that Douglass does
not have the power to carry out these actions, although he wishes
he did. He also equates the word “fly”, which is physically
impossible for all humans, to “go”, which is impossible for slaves
who are bound to serving their masters.
Return to passage
Annotation 7
“O God, save me! God, deliver me! Let me be free! Is there any God? Why am I a
slave? I will run away. I will not stand it.”
The short structure of these sentences creates a sense of
abruptness and desperateness for the reader. Similarly to the
content of this section of the passage, Douglass shifts to a tone of
frustration, emphasizing his hate for slavery and overwhelming
desire to obtain freedom by any means necessary.
Return to passage
Annotation 8
“Get caught, or get clear”
Douglass employs antithesis in this sentence by using parallel
structure to contrast the words “caught” and “clear”, which have
opposite meanings in this context. By using this rhetorical
device, he emphasizes the direness of his situation (as he only has
two drastically different options) and his overwhelming desire to
escape.
Return to passage
Annotation 9
“I will try to bear up under the yoke.”
Douglass uses this metaphor to compare his situation to that of an
ox bound by a yoke. He feels that he is being treated like an
animal that is forced to do work against its will for the benefit of
its master. This metaphor effectively illustrates how Douglass is
being chained down by slavery.
Return to passage
Alliteration
noun
the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of
adjacent or closely connected words, often in parallel structure
Return to passage
Antithesis
noun
establishing a clear, contrasting relationship between two ideas by
joining them together or juxtaposing them
Return to passage
Apostrophe
noun
the addressing of a usually absent person or a usually personified
thing rhetorically
Return to passage
Metaphor
noun
a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an
object or action to which it is not literally applicable
Return to passage
Parallelism
noun
several parts of a sentence or several sentences are expressed
with similar grammatical structure to show that the ideas in the
parts or sentences are equal in importance
Return to passage
Personification
noun
the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to
something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality
in human form
Return to passage
Ague
noun
a fever (as malaria) marked by paroxysms of chills, fever, and
sweating that recur at regular intervals
Return to passage
Betwixt
preposition
between
Return to passage
Gallant
adjective
showing courage; very brave
Return to passage
Lofty
adjective
rising to a great height
Return to passage
Mooring
noun
a place where a boat or ship can be anchored
Return to passage
Paroxysm
noun
a sudden attack or increase of symptoms of a disease (such as
pain, coughing, shaking, etc.) that often occurs again and again
Return to passage
Turbid
adjective
thick or opaque with or as if with roiled sediment
Return to passage
Yoke
noun
a bar or frame that is attached to the heads or necks of two work
animals (such as oxen) so that they can pull a plow or heavy load
Return to passage

similar documents