What literary/rhetorical devices are there in "To the Public" by William Lloyd Garrison?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are some literary devices from To The Public:

1) Parallelism- this is similarity of grammatical structure in clause or phrase. Parallelism maintains the balance of structure and contributes a certain rhythm or smooth flow to a sentence.

I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen...

Now, I have just given you an example of isocolon above. Isocolon is an example of parallelism; not only are the elements similar in grammatical structure, they are also similar in length (whether in number of words or syllables). More parallelism below:

I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity.

2) Anaphora- this is the repetition of beginning words in successive clauses. This literary tool helps to establish a rhythm that can be intoxicating or emotional. This is an appeal to pathos (emotion).

Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen...

I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD.

3) Parenthesis- this is an insertion of a verbal unit which interrupts the normal flow of a sentence. It is used by public speakers for the purposes of illumination, whether in reference to their personal character, opinions, or positions on political issues. Here's an example from the speech:

On this question my influence, —humble as it is, —is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years—not perniciously, but beneficially—not as a curse, but as a blessing...

Hope this helps!

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