Florence Kelly sets up her speech in ways that supported her stand and views on child labor she has presented before the National Woman Suffrage Association. She uses rhetorical strategies such as diction to show how important changing the laws is, repetition to emphasize the kind of impact child labor seems to take on Kelley, oxymoron’s, the use of pathos/logos and her tone of urgency she used to present her speech helped strengthen her chances on gaining the support from the audience in changing the laws of child labor. In her speech she strongly states that to her child labor is unnecessary and may be too much for the children to handle. She says, “Tonight while we sleep, several thousand little girls will be working in textile, mills, all the night through, in the deafening noise of spindles and the loom spinning and weaving cotton and wool, silks and ribbons for us to buy.” This helps strengthen and describe how bad and tiring it must be for just mere children to be working in such conditions and portray the spark of determination that was lighted within Kelley about this situation.
Kelley starts off her speech with a statistic that states, “We have, in this country, two million children under the age of sixteen years who are earning their bread” (para.3), with this piece of information you can automatically tell that Florence has done research about this matter and is familiar with the statistics she accumulated within her speech to portray her incorporation of the use of logos. With the information, this helps Kelley create an image in her audiences’ head the horrendous picture of such a high number of young children working to earn a pay as little as a loaf of bread for dinner. This ultimately helps Kelley in persuading her audience to agree with her opinion about changing the laws on child labor, also with the strong passion she seems to put forth towards the audience. She also uses a lot of repetition throughout her speech. She often uses the term “We” for example, “While we sleep…” in order to verbally show the audience that she, herself, is personally affected by the wrongness of child labor. By repetitively using this strategy she stirs up a mood of guilt within the audience.
Although she is not directly attacking nor blaming the audience for such an unjustified act, she is merely helping them see the kind of impact the picture of children working has on others. With this, it supports her representation of the use of pathos to sway the audience to feel sympathetic towards the working children, as well as showing her determination to make a change within society. Florence uses an oxymoron. She sees the fact that children have to work as a “pitiful privilege”. With that, Florence finds children much too young to hold such a huge responsibility in the work force and that it should be an man or woman’s job to work and have it be a “privilege”, nevertheless, having a child do such labor is what makes it pitiful on account of the adult.
This helps convey and strengthen the persuasion needed to make any kind of impact to influence the change of law. In her speech Florence’s tone is very urgent. Because of this, this sways the audience and keeps them intrigued with what Kelley has to say about her stand and view on child labor. She says, “For the sake of the children, for the Republic in which these children will vote after we are dad, and for the sake of our cause, we should enlist the workingmen voters, with us, in this task of freeing the children from toil!” (para.12), this also incorporates the use of pathos which causes the audience to feel a sense of responsibility and causes them to stand up and take action in righting the wrongs of child labor.
Florence worked hard for what she believed in and she succeeded in the end with the results of a change in child labor and improved the working conditions women had to work in. She was passionate, determined, and had a strong ongoing drive to do what was right for society. With the help of rhetorical strategies; repetition, pathos/logos, the urgency in her voice, and oxymoron’s, it supported her in proving, “No labor organization in this country ever fails to respond to an appeal for help in the freeing of the children.” (para.11)
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