Douglas uses vivid language to confess the painful history of the African slaves with utmost clarity and make the readers reflect on the horrifying consequences of black slavery.
Douglas and the other children of black slaves lived a painful and sorrowful childhood. "It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age." (Douglas, Chapter 1 p. 1) Like the other slaves, Douglas was not permitted to visit his mother during her sickness and was not even allowed to see her when she died and was buried.
The slaves, especially the women and children have to endure a cruel and miserable destiny. "The men and women slaves received, as their monthly allowance of food, eight pounds of pork, or its equivalent in fish, and one bushel of corn meal." (Douglas, Chapter 2 p.1) The slavemasters give the children two linen shirts that they have to use for the whole year. Thus, they are often naked during most of the seasons until they get their clothing allowance the next year.
The African slaves were weak subjects for violence, inhumane punishment and forced labor. Their owners whip them when they want to, even when they did not commit a punishable mistake. They are forced to work for long hours without adequate food and rest.
Through the use of vivid language, Douglad was able to transport the readers into the world that he describes in his narrative. The readers do not remain as mere readers, but they become observers as Douglas paints clear images by using powerful language. Douglas' employment of vivid language in narrating his first hand experience of black slavery delivers greater emotional response from the readers and make them realize that slavery should be abolished.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas. Page by Page Books. Web. 31 Oct 2014. Retrieved <http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Frederick_Douglass/The_Narrative_of_the_Life_of_Frederick_Douglass/Chapter_I_p1.html>