Child Labour Commentary

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The text is a speech “Florence Kelley Speaks Against Child Labor” from Irene Stuber, Hot Springs National Park. The intended audience of this speech is the citizens in the United States, especially people who are the entrepreneurs of the American industries, the US government officials and legislators. Targeted at both genders, this speech targets at adults. This is because adults have the ability to voice out and take action against child labour in the society, they are able to give a helping hand to the children. This speech also aims at middle to high-income groups as Kelley is trying to draw their attention towards the issue of child labour. The purpose of the speech is to inform people about the consequences and negative impact of child labour on children. Most importantly, Kelley makes effective use of language, numerical figures and data and the overall structure to convince and persuade the American industries to adopt human conditions, enlist the workingmen voters and free the children from toil.

Throughout the speech, Kelley uses language in order to engage readers’ feelings towards the child labour in the United States. For instance, in the first sentence of the speech, Kelley says, “We have, in this country, two million children under the age of sixteen years who are earning their bread.” Here, Kelley uses inclusive pronoun “we” to help readers to engage in the serious situation of the child labour. Another example of language is in paragraph 10, Kelley says, “But we are almost powerless. Not wholly powerless, however, are citizens who enjoy the right of petition.” Here, she uses repetition and repeats the word “powerless” to express her feelings towards child labour. This helps to draw people’s attention towards this issue. Moreover, in the speech, Kelley says, “Tonight while we sleep, several thousand little girls will be working in textile mills, all the night through, in the...
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