Florence Kelley Speech Rhetorical Analysis

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In America, there used to be unfair laws and regulations regarding labor. Children are put to work in harsh conditions, conditions often deemed difficult even for adults, and are forced to work ridiculous hours. Florence Kelley gave a speech at the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Philadelphia on July 22, 1905. In her speech, Kelley uses repetition, pathos, imagery, logos, and carefully placed diction to express how child labor is morally wrong and inhumane.
In her opening paragraphs, Kelley uses an antistrophe to emphasize the increase of young girls in the work force. She said, “Men increase, women increase, youth increase, boys increase…” (ln 10-14).She uses this to point out that all these groups increased, but the amount
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In line three, she uses a metonymy. She substitutes the word “bread” for “money”. The use of the phrase “earning their bread” (ln 2-3) suggests that children are working to be able to afford their necessities, which shouldn’t be the case if they are so young. This dramatizes the work that children do. Kelley goes on to use two oxymorons. She said, “Boys and girls … enjoy the pitiful privilege of working all night long” (ln 43-45). Privileges shouldn’t be pitiful. This provides a sarcasm that shows just how bad working conditions are. Her second oxymoron lies in lines 64-65, “free our consciences from participation in this great evil”. Evil shouldn’t be great. By using these contradictions, Kelley conveys her message with irony of the way that child labor is being handled.
Kelley questions the logical aspects of voting and how it would change child labor in lines 55-62. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920. She implies that if women were allowed to her vote, there would be better child labor laws. It seems logical that women should be allowed to vote, and if they were, certain laws and bills would not have been passed. Her use of logos helps emphasize her argument that together they can change child
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She places a feeling of guilt on her audience, but calls them to action. She said, “Tonight while we sleep, several thousand little girls will be working in textile mills, all the night … spinning and weaving cotton and wool silks and ribbons for us to buy” (ln 18-22). She faults herself and her audience for sitting idly by while children are working in the middle of the night in harsh conditions. Furthermore, she continues to guilt to the audience by stating that all the work these children are doing are for products that the audience will buy. In lines 59-61, Kelley attacks a bill that was removed that protected fourteen year old girls from working all night. This condemns her opposition as shameful. Kelley tries to unite her female audience against the “great evil” (ln 64-65) that is child labor. She believes that the suffrage of women will free children from the cruel nature of their working conditions.
Florence Kelley uses the rhetorical strategies of repetition, pathos, imagery, logos, and carefully placed diction to express how child labor is morally wrong. Her vivid and strong descriptions garner sympathy from her Philadelphia audience. Her use of diction expresses how the audience is to be blames equally for the cruelty and inhumane nature of child labor. She is able to spur her audience and call them to action against the evil of child labor. “For the sake of the children… and their cause” (ln 92-94), Kelley expresses

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