Sample Research Paper On The Use Of Literary Devices Such As Poetry, Diction, Rhetoric Questions, And Dialogue
In this book, the authors provide a vivid and remarkable story of self-emancipation or self-liberation. Essentially, Ellen and her husband emancipated themselves when they made a remarkably bold escape from slavery in Georgia, and moved to Boston. The couples used disguise innovatively and maintained their poise irrespective of intense scrutiny. In addition, their determination made them villains to others and heroes to many. Specifically, Ellen Craft decides to use her relatively light skin to pass as a white person to enable her travel by boat and train to the Northern regions of the U.S., with her husband William who was posing as one of her slaves. However, for her to execute her plan effective and successfully, she is also forced to pass as a man because it was unheard off or even impossible for a single white woman to travel alone with a male slave at the time. Primarily, the method of their escape lays at the heart of the narrative. In essence, it is one of masks, subterfuge, and pretending to be someone else as well as pretending to be of another gender by cross-dressing, as Ellen pretends to be a man to secure her freedom as well as that of her husband. It is clear that while writing this book, the authors intended to condemn the less appalling cruelties of slavery as well as to tell the narrative of two slaves who managed to escape from slavery. This essay seeks to examine and evaluate the author’s use of narrative motif, the theme of racial passing, and literary devices such as poetry, diction, rhetoric questions, and dialogue to drive his point
Summary of the Text
Ellen Craft and William made one of the most remarkable and daring moves in the American slavery history in 1848. As the book begins, William Craft accounts how he executed an intrepid escape from servitude in Georgia together with his wife, Ellen. Both Ellen and William were young as they were in their 20s when they escaped (Craft 290). Their plan to disguise themselves to be able to get away was outstanding in its cleverness. To avoid incriminating speech with strangers, the light-skinned Ellen outfitted with a poultice on her face and a master’s clothes. On the other hand, her husband William masqueraded as a servant. Since Ellen was illiterate, William made a sling for her arm to prevent her from signing hotel registers and had a poultice indicating that she had a toothache tied around her jaw to keep her from speaking. They both travelled by steamship, wagon and train in luxury as all watched from oppression in Macon, Georgia to liberty in Philadelphia, then Boston and finally England.
The second part of the book tells us more about the couple’s movements and activities after their grand escape in a third person summary. It starts as they are in Georgia and follows them through the slave states and Free states in which they were protected and well received. They had a remarkable time in Boston. The book documents the slavery history so well and how much the poor people had to suffer as the royalty felt good and enjoyed their life. Besides, the book is also very pleasurable and exciting. The story displays daring and bravery from the beginning to the end.
Further, the authors have employed the use of diction by using appropriate words to communicate effectively. Diction has been employed well considering that the novel is a kind of the historical treatise spanning many generations. The story starts with William and Ellen as slaves and develops to allowing them escape and enjoy life as non-slaves in many towns. William and Ellen get proper treatment and respect too, which is a contrast to slavery. The authors explain the suffering of the blacks by using terms as ‘niggers’ and explaining further that they do not know what is best for them, just to express the oppression they were facing. The authors have also employed diction to bring in the aspect of religion (William and Ellen 74). The choice of words they pick tells us that many persons in the plot of the novel were Christians. The words used by the authors also captures the time and seasons in which the novel was written. The words enable the reader to change times, for example, from William and Ellen as slaves to William and Ellen, who are enjoying their freedom.
Ideally, the greater part of the novel is presented through the descriptive narrative style, which is a powerful literal tool. The authors narrate to us not only what happened to them but the people around them as well (Dupriez, 196). As the novel ends, the aspect of third person narration is brought up. The third person narration at that part of the book helps the reader get into the mind of the characters to tell the reader what the character is thinking. The thoughts of the people make us know that slavery is hated and it demines many.
Use of Narrative Motif
Motif refers to a recurring element in a narrative and it exhibits symbolic significance. For this reason, a motif can take the form of themes, ideas, images, and other literal elements frequently utilized throughout the narrative (Dupriez 291). William and Ellen Craft employ motifs in their narrative Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom to enhance the story by linking various parts of the narrative to make the reader understand. Additionally, William and Ellen Craft utilize motifs to help their target audience comprehend the point they are trying to put across and the moral lesson of their narrative. For instance, William and Ellen Craft recall the extraordinary story of how they fled from slavery in the United States. Since they were married as slaves and resided in Georgia, they were not ready to raise their kids as slaves. For this reason, they planned to disguise themselves so that they could free themselves from the bondage of slavery. For instance, Ellen disguises herself as a light-skinned man, whereas, William acts as her slave so that they could escape to the north without any suspicion (Craft 4). Through this portrayal, the readers can comprehend how it was extremely difficult for individuals to escape from slavery.
In the novel, it is evident that the recurring themes are racism and gender. The author highlights to the audience how they were compelled to disguise themselves as a master and a slave in order to get an avenue of escaping. For instance, Ellen is forced to utilize her light skin because most of the time she was mistaken to belong to the upper-class family (White Family). Consequently, she makes use of her light skin to travel by boat and train to the North. However, to accomplish her mission, she had to disguise herself as a male figure because, at that time, white single women were not supposed to travel alone with a masculine male slave. Her story best explains how racism was a deep-rooted issue in their era. Slaves faced cruelty and were denied freedom. Equally, as an authoritative figure in the narrative, she crosses the boundaries of both gender and race as a symbol of disobedience acts by slaves. Craft (24) points out that Ellen in her disguise symbolized a respectable gentleman.
Because of race and gender shift, William does not address Ellen as her wife rather he makes use of male pronouns or refers to her as “my master” during their escape. Additionally, Ellen through her disguise manages to transform herself from the lower class slave to an upper white class. Through her, readers are amazed how Ellen for four consecutive days manages to disguise herself as a white gentleman escorting a slave. Using motifs, readers through the narrative learn about class, gender, and race in the 19th century. In this era, people were segregated based on class, gender, and class. Ellen’s disguise elucidates the intertwining nature of class, gender, and race in the era when slavery was a normal occurrence. Therefore, Ellen succeeded to escape from slavery because she managed to satisfy all the three criteria, the reason she was never detected (Craft 290). For this reason, Ellen is the authoritative figure in the narrative she affects the documentation of the novel.
The Use of Racial and Gender Passing
In conclusion, the book “From Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom” gives a vivid and extensive account of how two slaves use the art of passing, bravery, and trickery to gain self-emancipation. Specifically, Ellen Craft exploits her relatively light skin to pass herself as a white male enable her gain passage to the northern regions of the country. Accompanying her is William, her husband, whom she passed as one of her slaves. Nevertheless, for their escape plan to succeed, she is also forced to pass herself off as a man because it was unheard off or even impossible for a single white woman to travel alone with a male slave at the time. To drive their point home, the authors use various strategies and some of them include the narrative motif, the theme of racial passing, literary devices such as poetry, diction, rhetoric questions, and dialogue. The narrative motif helps them to give detailed accounts of most of the events and activities that occurred from one stage to the other. On the other hand, by using the theme of passing the authors are able to highlight the theme of racial and gender discrimination. Finally, by using varied literal devices such as letter, poems, dialogues, and rhetoric, the authors are able to communication the change or transition from slavery to freedom.
Craft, William and Craft, Ellen. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery. London: Willian Tweedie, 1860.
Dupriez, Bernard M. A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A-Z. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991. Print.
Moore Cathy. The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft. New York: Prentice Hall Press.
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