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Word Count: 743
Fredrick Douglass open letter to his former master Captain Thomas Auld was more than just a correspondence -- it was apolitical statement Published in The North Star in 1868 Douglas uses the subtle mastery of language gleaned from his hard-wrought education to condemn slavery and the moral ambiguity of his society in a narrative that despite its reserved tone conveys a deep passion for the suffering of his people In this way Douglas seeks to both universalize his message and affirm his humanity to a vast opinionated and often hostile readershipAn opponent to the idea that Douglas so carefully crafted this message to appeal to any possible reader -- an abolitionist a former slaveholder a freed slave or even the great swathes of people who teetered on the edge of an opinion on the issue -- might say that the meaning of a work is always relative to who is reading it and that perhaps historical pieces such as this one are over-interpreted for the sake of academics However it is that very fact which Douglas was counting on His genius often comes not in what he says but what the doesnt say the vagueness or broadness of his statements the assumptions one may make between his wordsIt is no coincidence that Douglas wrote to Captain Auld on the 10 year anniversary of his emancipation this letter was planned down to the word and significance of the date to invoke sympathy in the audience Even the first word -- a simple SIR -- is selected with purpose Such a simple greeting yet so loaded with implication Douglas puts Auld a man with whom he has shared a long and intimate though by no means friendly relation as he so cordially calls his bondage in a position of equality He calls Auld in the same way as he would an acquaintance on the street in both a show of defiance against their past dynamic
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