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What are key rhetorical devices or techniques used by Old Major in his speech?

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popan006 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted September 23, 2011 at 7:37 PM via web

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What are key rhetorical devices or techniques used by Old Major in his speech?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 23, 2011 at 8:09 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that one of the most critical rhetorical devices that Old Major uses is the connection with his audience.  Old Major specifically speaks to the animals in a manner that makes relevant his ideas. For example, he specifically refers to Boxer being taken to the Knacker's.  This is something that is a fear for animals like Boxer, and in doing so, Old Major is able to directly connect what he is saying to the audience listening.  Another rhetorical device is that Old Major offers a contrast between what is and what can be.  This parallel provides a sense of hope to the animals, and allows for a sense of inspiration to be present.  Old Major's inspirational quality is something that enables him to be able to reach the animals in a way that allows them to see what can be.  This is seen particularly in the pigs, who sit in the front and pay attention to what is being said.  Old Major's stress about his own age is another rhetorical device that helps to bring out his ideas to the audience.  His fundamental argument is that none of what he says is for his benefit, as he is going to be moving on soon enough.  Rather, he speaks for the animals and those who will come after him.  In this, he is able to provide another connection of meaning to his audience.

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