Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Chapters III–IV

Summary Chapters III–IV

When describing the career of the cruel overseer Mr. Gore, Douglass uses an increasingly ironic tone. Irony occurs when the implicit meaning of a statement differs from what is actually asserted. Thus, when Douglass says that Mr. Gore is “what is called a first‑rate overseer,” he implies that Mr. Gore is a good overseer only to those with no sense of justice. Douglass implies that reasonable people recognize that Mr. Gore is a cruel man. Douglass frequently uses this ironic tone in the Narrative to highlight the discrepancy between supposed and actual justice.