In the year 1851 in the town Akron, Ohio a woman delivered a speech at a women’s convention that would be forever remembered for its greatness, genuine and powerful message. In the speech Sojourner Truth talked about her experiences not only about being a women but being a black woman in that society. In the speech she uses her personal experiences to connect with her audience and provoke them physically and emotionally. Sojourner Truth uses repetitive language, personal experiences, and sacred references to connect with her audiences emotionally and invokes her audience with the power to overcome racial and gender inequality. In her speech Sojourner Truth recognizes herself as a victim of inequality by stating how she faces discrimination everyday as a black woman. In order to provoke an emotional response in her audience she uses her personal anecdotes and invites her audience who are mostly women facing discrimination from the society. She also references to a man claiming that he says “women need to help into carriages and lifted over ditches and have the best place everywhere.” After saying the following quotes she follows an immediate denial. She says that no one is polite to her. She angrily exclaims “no one ever helps me into carriages, lifts me over ditches or gives me the best place!” By saying this quote she shows how hypocritical the society was at that time.
In her speech Sojourner Truth creates the feeling of resentment in her audience by depicting the hypocrisy between men and women in the society. She also creates the feeling of empowerment in her audience. By explaining the hypocrisy in her own life Sojourner Truth invites her audiences to realize their own unfairness happening in their lives which they may want to change. She also exclaims her vulnerable state which grabs the audience’s emotions and asks for their sympathy.
After she has talked about the unfairness in her life Truth empowers her
audience by exclaiming and repeating a rhetorical question “ain’t I a woman?” She repeats this question again and again because she believes that she has her right to her own equality. She repeats this question because she wants her audience to feel the same empowerment she is feeling and she wants them to realize that they deserve their right to their equality. She exclaims this question over and over again each time with her personal story and builds up the energy in her audience. She also compares herself to a man by saying “I have ploughed, planted and gathered into barns and no man could head me.” She continues to repeat this question to make the claim that she is equal as a man and she needs equality.
Sojourner Truth also uses religion and faith to make her point to the audience. She makes references to the bible when she is giving her speech and makes an emotional connection with her audience who are mostly Christians. Since most of the audiences were Christians she realizes that they can relate more positively to her ideas and her claims. When she opens up her speech she uses the word “children” referencing that she sees everyone in her audience equally like a mother treats her children equally. By using the word “children” she also foreshadows that her speech is going to be equality among the society.
Sojourner Truth ends her speech with her most empowering fact. She states that a man said that a woman can’t have as many rights as a man because Christ was not a woman. She cleverly contradicts this statement by stating the quote “cause Christ was not a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and from woman. Man has nothing to do with him.” After she says the following quote she also says a really empowering statement to the audience. She claims “If the first woman god ever made was strong enough to turn the whole world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.” In this statement she references the strength of a Christian figure of the world’s first woman, Eve. When she says this statement Sojourner clearly wants each and every member of her audience to know to know they are emotionally and physically capable of fighting injustice.
Sojourner uses multiple rhetorical tools to engage her audience. She uses her personal stories as pathos and connects to her audience through her inspirational stories. When she references Christ in her speech she tries to use ethos to prove her point. She also uses repetition to engage and empower her audience.
Even though we were not there to hear Sojourner’s speech we can still feel the empowerment and inspiration the speech holds. In the speech it is clear that she does not want violence to fight for her injustice she explains that she only wants equality because she believes that men and women are not different. Although this speech is about woman’s equality she also explains the injustice African Americans had to suffer from. In her speech Sojurner Truth easily connects with her audience emotionally and allows them to realize that do not need this injustice and deserve equal rights.
Courtney from Study Moose
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