Comparison of Booker T. Washington's "Up from Slavery" and Web Dubois' "The Souls of Black Folk"

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Literary Devices in Rhetorical Writing
During a time period when slavery had finally come to an end, African Americans still struggled as their opportunities for equality were next to nonexistent. In this time of hardship and unfair treatment, not many of those facing these adversities had the courage to speak out on their beliefs for change; Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois, however, did not possess such fears — both thoroughly articulated their opinions and stood for what they believed was right. Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois shared a few commonalities — both men were highly educated, for example, as well as they both expressed strong opposition against segregation. Washington’s Up from Slavery: An Autobiography and Dubois’ The Souls of Black Folk outline each of these powerful historical figures’ views on segregation and what can be done to end it. Both of these works are excellent examples of rhetorical writing, possessing strong persuasive arguments. A deeper examination of these texts can be done by a comparison of chapter fourteen of Washington’s work, entitled “The Atlanta Exposition Address,” and chapter three of Dubois’ The Souls of Black Folk – “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others.” Each of the texts contains persuasive arguments; however, each writer’s separate use of rhetorical strategies alludes to an effective expression of the intended theme.

Booker T. Washington’s use of diction throughout “The Atlanta Exposition Address” reflected his level of education in a way that made him stand out in the African American community. His use of advanced rhetoric in comparison to the majority of the African American population made it easier for him to be noticed and heard. Judging by the text, it is apparent that all three modes of persuasion are present. By mentioning his reform-related accomplishments, Washington often appeals to logos in order to establish his credibility and prominence as a leader; this appeal enhances his use of ethos,...
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