Florence Kelley

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Florence Kelley was devoted to improving working conditions for women and children. She worked tirelessly to have child labor laws passed. We see her commitment to her cause in her speech before the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Philadelphia on July 22, 1905. Kelley effectively utilizes the rhetorical strategies of repetition and pathos to express her desire to better things for the working children.

Beginning in the third paragraph, Kelley uses the phrase that she will continue to repeat through much of the speech. She repeats, “while we sleep..” to show her audience that they had the luxury of sleeping while children all over America were “working eleven hours a night.” The purpose of using the repetition was to leave those powerful thoughts in the audience’s head. That way, when the members of the convention laid their heads down to sleep, they would be reminded of those two million children who had to work throughout the night, all because there weren’t any laws protecting children. And hopefully, that thought would cause some action to be done by the Association to better the conditions these children had to work in.

Kelley also uses pathos to convey her message. She used descriptive language to give the audience a mental image of these little helpless children, “just tall enough to reach the bobbins [working] eleven hours by day or by night.” This descriptive language appealed to the heartstrings of these people, which is the function of pathos. The purpose of using pathos in this speech was the hope that the association felt they had failed the children everywhere and feel the need to do something to help these poor children. They could vividly see, “the children [making] our shoes in the shoe factory, [knitting] our stockings, our knitted underwear in the knitting factories.” Pathos is all about emotion, and Kelley fills her speech with emotion.

Florence Kelley made it her lifelong goal to better conditions...
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