African American Literature

William Wells Brown use of Literary Terms
In Clotel_ or The President’s Daughter,_ William Wells Brown describes how slave owners had relations with their slaves resulting in mullato children, or of mixed race. Clotel as a main character, and her sister Althesa were two quadroon meaning a quarter of black ancestry, children by a slave woman named Currer and the late President Thomas Jefferson. In these times mulatto and quadroon individuals were considered in higher ranking than a full blooded slave. The mulatto class of slaves was treated better than dark slaves, wore extravagant clothing and was often mistresses of powerful white men. In this story Brown uses hyperbole, dialogue, motif, characterization to dramatize his story.
Hyperbole is exaggeration of a description to convey a positive or negative attribute. Brown uses hyperbole in one scene, when Currer was sold to a gentleman in the New Orleans Market forcing to separate from her youngest daughter. “It seemed as if poor Althesa would have wept herself to death for the first two days after her mother had been torn from her side by the ruthless trafficker in human flesh”. No one on earth could cry so much it caused their death or be torn from one’s side because we are not sewn together like two pieces of fabric. Brown uses this tactic to emphasize the pain Althesa felt when her mother was taken away.
Dialogue is where characters speak to one another in a conversation. Dialogue is used in the auction scene. The auctioneer says “Miss Clotel had been reserved for last, because she was the most valuable. How much gentleman? Real albino, fit for a fancy girl for any one. She enjoys good health and has a sweet temper. How much do you say?” “Five hundred” says a bidder. “Only five hundred for such a girl as this? Gentleman she is worth a deal more than sum; you certainly don’tknow the value of the article you are bidding upon. Here gentleman, I hold in my hand a paper certifying that she has good moral...