Rhetorical Analysis

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Freedom from Child Labor Through Women’s Rights
“We have, in this country, two million children under the age of sixteen years who are earning their bread” (1-3). Throughout Florence Kelley’s speech to the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, she emphasizes the injustice of child labor laws and the need for women to take a stand by fighting for the right to vote. Kelley is one of many inspirational leaders who fought for women’s rights. She reaches out to a group of women so that they might call to mind their right to petition. In doing so, Kelley is persuading the audience to fight for their right to vote to change child labor laws. Kelley uses several rhetorical devices such as imagery, diction, and pathos to pull her audience into the issue and invites them to join her efforts. Florence Kelley shows sympathy through images she depicts to the audience when she explains how girls at the mere ages of six and seven “who are just tall enough to reach the bobbins” work close to eleven hours day or night (33-34). In doing so, she instills an image in her listeners’ minds of children no more than four feet tall. Also, she describes “the deafening noise of the spindles” to the audience to plant a spine-chilling feel for the work conditions children must endure (line 20). Additionally, Kelley mentions that a girl just turning thirteen leaves for work “carrying her pail of midnight luncheon as happier people carry their midday luncheon” (50-51) to show the differences in working during the day versus all night. Stating that “happier” people work during the day instills an image of depressed young children heading off to work all night long. Kelley describes how these young children “carry bundles of garments from factories to the tenements” (75-76); by doing so, she is trying to instill the picture of girls six and seven years of age knocking on doors with bundles of clothes unlike the free children who would normally skip from door to door...
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