Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce, Frederick Douglass, and Kate Chopin
llusion. For example, when Farquhar reaches a river bank, he compares the sand with jewels by saying “it looked like diamonds, rubies, emeralds” (12). Since those jewels are expensive and hard to be discovered, the author emphasizes Farquhar’s luck and bless of escaping and surviving. Moreover, the colorful image of sand helps readers to detect the change of narrators’ tone and suspect whether the situation is real or his illusion.
Similarly, in Desiree’s Baby, the author describes the change in the demeanor of Armand by saying “he absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse” (3). It foreshadows the separation between Armand and Desiree with her baby and builds a tension in the story. Then, when Desiree looks at her child and the son of La Blanche, one of their slaves, the narrator says her “blood turned like ice in her veins, and a clammy moisture gathered upon face” (3).The author emphasizes Desiree’s realization and astonishment about the race of her child by comparing her blood to ice. With the simile, the phrase becomes an outstanding description and works as a turning point of the story.
In addition, two writers end their stories with a brief and ironical end. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the author returns from illusion to reality by saying “Peyton Fahrquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek bridge” (13).In Desiree’s Baby, the narrator discloses the secret of Armand about his origin and his irreverence by reading his mother’s letter, which says “… that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery” (5). After revealing ironical truths, both authors abruptly finish stories without explanations.
The shortly revealing ends, at first, may confuse readers, but later it promotes readers to reread and rethink about stories. However, Douglass’s writing style is different from Bierce’s andChopin’s because his work is an essay and autobiography, not a fiction. Rather than literary devices, Douglass often uses rhetoric techniques, especially pathos, to convince readers that slavery is harmful for both slaves and slaveholders. In the beginning of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author arouses readers’ pity for slaves by directly telling his relation with his mother. He has been purposely separated from his mother at a very early age and met his mother only few times in his life.
When his mother dies, he says “…I received the tidings of her death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger” (3). Young slaves are not allowed to feel affection, which is the first and basic feeling that human and even animals receive from their parents by being nurtured and being loved. The disconnection between mothers and children portrays the wretched condition of slavery and makes audience to feel compassion for it, and the emotional appeal efficiently shows how slavery dehumanizes black people.
Get access to
Guarantee No Hidden