English 250 African-American Literature
March 16, 2014
Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I Woman
In the speech “Ain’t I a Woman”, the Sojourner Truth delivered during the Women’s Convention of 1851, she speaks on the injustices that women and colored people endured during that horrible time in America. I will make an effort to explore the ways she utilizes rhetorical methods as a means to accomplish a victorious and compelling delivery of her message. In this analysis, I will talk about the way Sojourner draws on her own individual experiences evoke an emotional reaction from her audience, relating with the women and mothers equally. She also utilizes repetitive and rhetorical questioning in hopes to counter challenging opinions for gender equality. In the conclusion of her speech, Sojourner makes biblical allusions during her speech to relate with her Christian listeners and allowing the audience to relate with the message on a deeper level.
In the city of Akron, Ohio in the year 1851, Sojourner Truth gave a very touching speech at the Women’s Convention that would be remembered for its simplicity, genuineness, and compelling message. Sojourner Truth talked to the Women’s Convention about her personal encounters and difficulties as not only a woman during that time in society, but as an African-American woman. It was her own individual experiences and biblical allusions she used to bond with her listeners and make them respond on both an emotional and intimate scale. By talking about her personal experiences, using repetition in her speech, and making biblical allusions, Sojourner Truth bonds intimately with her listeners to successfully raise a impression of power to beat race and gender discrimination.
Sojourner creates a form of self as a victim of prejudice by revealing to us how she is challenged by discrimination as a “colored” person and as a woman in hopes to stir up a powerful response in her listeners. Throughout all her personal stories, Sojourner encourages her listeners, the majority being women undergoing their own personal encounters of discrimination, to acknowledge the wrong doings of which they too are victims. She directs her attention to a man in the audience, declaring that he says “women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and have the best place everywhere.” Directly following this representation of how a Caucasian male thinks a woman ought to be treated, she responds with her own individual counter. She frankly shouts out that no one accommodates her with such courtesies, and she accentuates this point by reiterating each of the actions: “Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me the best place! (Sojourner Truth, Aint I Woman)” By sticking this idea of how a man says women should be treated with politeness next to the truth that she has never been exposed to any of this politeness,...