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Analysis of “Ain’t I a Woman” Speech by Sojourner Truth

Updated November 19, 2021
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Analysis of “Ain’t I a Woman” Speech by Sojourner Truth essay

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One of history’s most powerful speeches. “Ain’t I a woman” that I am going to discuss in this essay was given by Sojourner Truth at 1851 women’s Rights Convention in Akron Ohio. Truth gave her speech to address her view on women’s rights and to advocate equal rights of women and men in every social activity. Sojourner has experienced all the challenges and obstacles that she addressed in her speech. Sojourner Truth was born in 1797 in slavery, in Hurley, New York. She was a former slave and has sold $100. She has been enslaved for twenty-eight years of her life.

Truth was nationally unknown as an advocate for equality and justice. She was a religious person, whenever she spoke, she always begins her speech with, “Children, I talk to God and God talks to me.” She escaped to freedom in 1826. She had five children and four of them had sold into salivary. By the time when she gave her famous speech, Truth was unable to read and write. Even after her speech, she has admitted that she cannot read and write on several interviews. She was beaten and mistreated like other slaves at that time.

Truth uses illiterate phrases during her speech such as “But what all this here talking about?”, and even her speech titled, “Ain’t I a woman”. She was known for speech racial and l inequality, “Ain’t I a woman” The purpose of her speech was to address women’s right should be advanced. Throughout she has stated that she has worked hard, and no man ever helped in her fields. Her tone was very powerful, justifies a woman’s worth in the world, and truth clear the fact that women are important as much as men are.

The National park service (NPS) is an agency of united state federal government that manage all national parks, many national moments and other historical activities. I found Truth’s biography and her famous speech on this website. This website is governmental, well organized, and credible. It’s helpful that tells us the story of the first women’s tight, and a story of struggles for civil rights, human rights, and equality. Besides Truth, there are many historical activities appeared on this page.

Truth speech has established ethos very well and it displayed in this line of speech. Ethos is all about credibility and convinces the audience by emphasizing the speaker’s credibility. Therefore, Truth has proved her credibility extrinsically and intrinsically through her own struggle and personal experience. That has helped her to share her idea about that there should not be a double standard for women who are fully capable of doing everyday activities. By the time when there is no freedom to speak and when many people were afraid to speak out, Truth used her voice to speak out about against mistreated and injustices.

On the other hand, she used extrinsic ethos, when the audience was more likely to understand the movement that she was trying to be advocating because she has first-hand experience of not to be able to have her rights as a woman. Intrinsically, she gave an example that against how man expects women to be weaker, “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! Ain’t I a woman?” Her ethos refutes those claims by stating that she did not need a man for simple tasks by declaring, “And ain’t I a woman?” what truth wanted to accomplish in her speech. “if my cup won’t hold but a pint and yours hold a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?”

Logos refer to persuasion by reason which is a logical reason. In her speech “ Ain’t I a woman”, Truth has many arguments why women deserve equal treatment as men. She affirms that “look at me look at my arms! I have plowed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! and Ain’t I a woman.” By comparing herself and what she is capable of, and this section of the speech appeals to the men in the audience. She also used several rhetorical questions to show how her arguments are powerful and logical. Such as “Where did your Christ come from then?” from God and a woman, men ain’t got nothing to do with him.” Which are logical speeches that we all know where our Christ is came from? During her speech, every single word that came out of her mouth was super powerful, true, and meaning full. Her rhythm and repetition provided the special atmosphere making her speech more logical in the audience.

Pathos refers to the author’s persuasion through emotional appeal. Truth was talking to an audience mostly composed of women. They were more likely to understand and sympathize with her because they have experienced similar treatment. She refers, “I Have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother grief, none but Jesus heard me. “ Her speech connects with all the mother in the audience. It allows them to connect with a deep emotional level with not only the African American mothers but the white mother as well.

The women in the audience are more likely to be accepting of what she was saying and be persuaded by her argument. She had proved that she is not just emotional but educated as well. Her argument is composed of multiple facts and statistics. She does point out how frustrating it all is and uses the phrase ‘happy little homemaker’ to show how demeaning it is to not be looked to as much. I believe this was a smart choice, it helped her argument be more effective. “Ain’t I a woman?” this has significant meaning to the whole speech. She says this after every opinion, experience, and reference that she shouts in the speech.

To conclude my Idea sojourner the truth was born in 1797 as a slave, in Hurley, New York. She was a former slave and sold $100 and enslaved for twenty-eight years of her life. Truth is known by her speech called, “ Ain’t I a woman”. She was born and grew up treated as a slave and sold more than 17 times. She was an activist and a women’s rights, advocate. In her speech Truth tried to persuade the audience by using the appeals, ethos, pathos, and logos in order to make the speech more powerful. I believe her speech is very powerful and has changed the women’s story much better.

From this speech, I learned that rhetorical devices and pathos have an impact on the speaker’s speech. To me, Sojourner Truth is an extraordinary woman. As a speaker for her speech Truth used the simple understandable vocabulary for the audience. Her style of speaking was clear, successful, and made the speech more effective. Her past most certainly helped the audience comprehended what she was saying to get across. This speech is significant in world history, and truth opened people’s eyes with every single word that comes out of her mouth.

There are many women around the world who are still suffering from inequality. For example, Yemen, Pakistan, Morocco, and Iran are the top countries that have the worst gender equalities. I personally understand what women’s inequality looks like, because the countries that I came from have been the same issues, and there is still an issue that needs to change. For instance, my mother has many obstacles that challenged her. She wasn’t even able to finish her elementary school life, because society wasn’t trusted in women’s education. She was being forced and got married at the age of fifteen.

And have her first daughter at the age of sixteen. What I am trying to say is, Truth’s speech was all about logic, and my mom can be an example e of one of those women who suffered from gender inequality. There isn’t anything to have hate or dislike for this speech. The ideas of Truth that she emphasized in her speech are still important and relevant for those who are struggling to have there freedom of speech, work, vote, and be able to participate equally. “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” (Truth)

Work Cited

  1. “Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman? (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 17 Nov. 2017, www.nps.gov/articles/sojourner-truth.htm.
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Analysis of “Ain’t I a Woman” Speech by Sojourner Truth. (2021, Nov 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-aint-i-a-woman-speech-by-sojourner-truth/

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