Rhetorical Analysis Of Speech By Florence Kelley

Topics: Woman, Gender, Feminism, Gender role, Female, Sociology / Pages: 4 (836 words) / Published: May 3rd, 2016
In her 1905 speech before the National American Woman Suffrage Association, social worker Florence Kelley fought for the abolishment of unfair child labor policies with the help of voters and petitions. In this fight, she depicts the horrible state of child labor throughout America, contrasting the “little white girls … of six or seven years” (29-33) from the women privileged enough to be in her audience, and speaks in both questions and exclamations, empowering her audience to do what they can about child labor. She does so in order to create further pressure for politicians and voters to change the state of labor legislation. These suffragettes may not have been able to vote for children’s rights, but Kelley still encouraged them to “enlist the workingmen voters … in this task of freeing the children from toil!” (94-96).
Kelley employs negatively connotative diction, facts about child labor, and vivid images to convey to her suffragette audience the awful truth about child labor practices. She refers to the “boys and girls … [who] enjoy the pitiful privilege of working all night long” (43-45), using consonance and oxymoron to her advantage in order to
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In the application of these aforementioned tools, Kelley swayed these women both logically and emotionally; with their guilt and responsibility and anger they joined the fight against child labor. Moreover, Kelley not only lived to see the success of her movement to reform labor regulations, she also had the privilege of witnessing the fruition of women’s suffrage just four years before her death in 1932. Both Kelley and the NAWSA achieved their goals and made change not only with the help of women, but also with the support of “the workingmen voters”

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