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Name three rhetorical devices Sojourner Truth used in "Ain't I a Woman?" and give an...

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tookie92 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 14, 2010 at 7:29 AM via web

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Name three rhetorical devices Sojourner Truth used in "Ain't I a Woman?" and give an example of each device from the speech.

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 14, 2010 at 8:51 AM (Answer #1)

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Three rhetorical devices that Sojourner Truth uses in her speech "Ain't I a Woman?" include metaphor, rhetorical questions, and repetition.  Midway through the speech, Truth uses the metaphor of pints and quarts to discuss the rights held by black women in comparison to others:  "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?"  Through this metaphor, Truth argues that the black woman has fewer rights than other citizens yet those who have more are keen to take all they can away from the black woman.  Truth also uses a rhetorical question here to push her audience into her logic; she uses several rhetorical questions throughout the speech, most notably the repetition of "And ain't I a woman?" to build emphasis and intensity into the speech.

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keltong | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:39 PM (Answer #2)

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Truth uses aullusion to get the feeling of sympathy.

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legan03 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM (Answer #3)

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repetition: this question is repeated, "Ain't I a woman?"; allusion: it's a biblical allusion, "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down,"; rhetorical question: could be the title again, "Ain't I a woman?"

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 26, 2014 at 3:31 AM (Answer #5)

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This rhetorical question "Ain't I a Woman" could also qualify as anaphora or symploce. Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses for added emphasis. Symploce is a combination of anaphora and epistrophe (repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses), but symploce means "interweaving." It seems that in this speech, symploce is the rhetorical device Truth uses since it is interwoven throughout the speech. 

Truth also uses logos (logical arguments). She argues that she can do the same amount of work as a man; therefore why shouldn't she have the same rights as a man. When she uses a Biblical allusion, she is appealing to Christians in the audience. This is called ethos: appealing to a crowd's or a community's ideology, religion, beliefs, etc. One could also argue that Truth uses pathos (appealing to the emotions of her listeners) since this is an emotional issue - particularly for women. 


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frankie-saldana | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 28, 2011 at 2:04 AM (Answer #4)

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what about repitition?

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