Sojourner Truth Rhetorical Analysis

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Audience appeals and Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth in her speech Ain’t I a Women addresses the issues of women’s rights and racial inequalities at a Women’s convention in 1851. Truth’s purpose is to convey that women and blacks are equaled to white men and that they do not need to be viewed as less. She adopts a conversational tone to appeal to personal beliefs in her anti-slavery listeners. Truth uses appeals to maternal emotions, rhetorical questions, and allusions to the bible to aid her in making a point. The purpose of the convention Truth was attending was to address the rights of women. Truth begins her speech as if she were a mother telling a story. She appeals to pathos, specifically to the maternal emotions of women in the audience. Truth shares her story of the hardships of slavery, labor, and loss. She describes motherly emotions when she says “I have borne thirteen children” and after watching them being sold to slavery she “cried out with my mothers’ grief.” This shows how Truth had to sacrifice multiple things including her children because of her ethnicity. Throughout the speech Truth asserts her femininity by repeating the phrase “Ain’t I a woman”. This strategy aides Truth in having a vast majority of her female audience identify with her on some level. Truth poses several rhetorical questions throughout her speech. Through these questions she attempts to get the point that women are important across. Truth poses the question “where did your Christ come from?” The answer to this is obvious to Truth as well as her audience but she asks it anyways because she wants to emphasize the answer. Later on Truth answers this question by saying “From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with him.” By providing her audience with the answer to the question Truth is successful in ensuring her message is portrayed. The more noticeable use of rhetorical questions is when Truth asks “Ain’t I a woman?” This question emphasizes the obvious. Of course...
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