Rhetorical Devices Essay
In Florence Kelley’s speech about child labor she emphasizes the need to obliterate these harsh working conditions for children. She uses pathos, rhetorical questions, and repetition to move the audience to act against child labor. With using these techniques throughout her speech she develops a well appealing argument for the audience to connect with.
Florence Kelly incorporates pathos into her speech to enhance her argument. She wants the audience to feel for these children when she says, “while we sleep little white girls will be working tonight” (Kelly). The feeling she creates of guilt makes the audience draw in, feeling like they should help. As she uses ‘we’ she includes herself and creates the awareness that as we go through our daily life there are children who are working in the late hours of the night, who are supposed to be getting more sleep than her herself. This feeling of unsettledness that people do not realize to those children, sleep is a privilege and it is taken for granted every day. In addition to, Kelly ends her speech using pathos to give one last plead for people to help, “For the sake of the children, for the Republic in which these children will vote after we are dead” (Kelly). She makes the audience feel like they have extreme importance for the children then and in the future, that they have to act now before it’s too late, as she uses the word ‘dead’.
Kelly uses rhetorical questions to engage the audience in her argument towards abolishing child labor. In her question she points out the importance of women with the child labor laws as she states, “Would the New Jersey Legislature have passed that shameful repeal bill enabling girls of fourteen years to work all night, if the mothers in New Jersey were enfranchised.” (Kelly). She points out how much of a difference it makes that these mothers do not have a say in this. With their say it would make a crucial impact on these laws, to get their own daughters out of these unethical working hours.
Kelly adds this rhetorical device for her argument because it strengthens it by telling the audience that these mothers do not have a say to change these laws but they do have this chance and opportunity to make a difference. Furthermore, in Kelly’s concluding paragraph she imbeds another rhetorical device making the audience rethink everything and the guilt feeling when she says, “What can we do to free our consciences” (Kelly). We see again her not saying ‘you’ but referring to ‘we’ making the audience feel connected with her that she is with them in making this difference. Making the audience feel united intensifies her argument by creating an emotional appeal and that is creates throughout the rhetorical questions.
Repetition is very important in this speech; it helps create many different appeals to audience. Kelly repeats the phrase ‘while we sleep’, “while we sleep little white girls…And they will do so tonight, while we sleep” (Kelly) this repetition makes the audience think twice about what else is going on out there that we do not know about while we live our daily life’s. She also tries to get the point across with this repetition that as we do nothing we could be helping a greater cause. Another repetition word that she uses is the word ‘we’, “We do not wish this. We prefer to have out work done by men and women. But we are almost powerless” (Kelly) This repetition creates a stronger argument by unifying the audience and connecting herself with them. The unification is a symbol to the audience that she is working on this problem too and they won’t be alone in creating a solution but she needs their help so they can create that ‘we’ in this complication of child labor.
The rhetoric devices pathos, rhetorical questions, and repetition enhance the meaning in Kelly’s argument to make the audience want to pay attention to this horrific problem. She needs these people’s help and willingness to execute these children at work and creates a developed argument to do so. Pleading for help is what she knew she had to do and she did that with great emotion getting the audiences awareness on this problem.