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Rhetorical Reading Response - Ain’t I a Woman?

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Rhetorical Reading Response: “ Ain’t I a Woman?”

In this speech, “ Ain’t I a Women?”, given by Sojourner Truth in 1851 at the Women's Convention in Ohio, originally published in the Anti-Slavery Bugle in the same year, addressed the disparity that Black Americans and especially women experienced at the end of the nineteenth century. To convey her feelings to the audience, she uses her personal experiences, repetitions, rhetorical questions, and biblical references. Truth does this in order to show she supports the equal right of women and men everywhere, specifically the rights of African Americans. This speech is aimed at every American but particularly for white women and men, so they can understand how their behavior really affect African Americans, how is it unfair and what are the steps they willing to take to change their manner?

I found this speech both interesting and unique. Truth kept her speech simple, using a casual language and still thrive to carry a lot of emotions throughout her speech. As young women, I found it incredible that she stepped up for all the slaves in her community and despite every obstacle, she stood in front of all those white people and defended her right. She was courageous, and therefore I really appreciate this speech, and it inspired me a lot specially to speak up my mind.  

Truth effectively and wisely supports her statement throughout her speech by explaining how she encountered prejudices as a black person and as a woman to incite an emotional response in her audience. She points out a man in the crowd, claiming that he says, “women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and have the best place everywhere.” (Truth) following this description, she exclaims that no one performs these considerations for her, and she emphasizes this point by repeating each of the actions: “Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me the best place!” (Truth). By juxtaposing this ideal way of how a man says women should be treated with the reality that she has never experienced, Truth is indicating the presence of hypocrisy. In the next two claims, she proves how physically capable she is and confirms once more her similarity to men. After by repeatedly saying “Ain’t I a woman?” (Truth) it acts as a magnifier in this sense to highlight each prior point.  These are facts from her life, but they are applicable to thousands of women across the continent currently. Then she says, “If my cup won't hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?” (Truth) in other words women are not as educated as men then since men already have this much privilege why don’t they let women have some of it.  At last  she says, “Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman. The man had nothing to do with Him.” (Truth) the repeated question amplifies the question to the point it is impossible for the audience to not think about it. Truth creates a strong backing for her logic in a densely Christian country. Overall Truth has uses a lot of efficient point to prove her point of  view.



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