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Rhetorical Strategies Used In The Morality Of Birth Control Speech By Margaret Sanger

1205 words - 5 pages

The emotional state of any given person’s mind can determine the way in which they think, act, behave, or respond to any certain event. When used correctly, persuasion is a deadly weapon at the tip of your tongue, and it certainly can, and will, help you obtain your desired outcome. So, if anyone may not know, what do you truthfully use to manipulate the thoughts of others? Well, whether you are aware or not, your strategies more than likely fall under ethos, pathos, or logos, that of which, I would like to uncover in the speech of Margaret Sanger.
Margaret Sanger was, at large, a birth control activist, but this speech was more about the questioning of birth control corrupting morality in women. People must remember, in the day and age where Sanger presented this speech, November 1921, women were considered very far from equal and much closer to servants or maids. In her speech, I saw that ethos was present in the sense that she gave herself credibility. Through Sanger’s detailed words and actions, and her statements including the presence of scientists and, or, professionals, the masses of listening people could infer that she was very well informed and solid in her statements. Though she presented herself as agreeable, Sanger was firm in her beliefs. In addition, Sanger says, “We desire to stop at its source the disease, poverty and feeble-mindedness and insanity which exist today, for these lower the standards of civilization and make for race deterioration. We know that the masses of people are growing wiser and are using their own minds to decide their individual conduct” (Sanger, par.15). To me, Sanger made herself appeal to the audience by using the word ‘we.’ In the practice of ethos, this focused on the author more than the topic, and allowed her to charm the audience in a way that unity and familiarity were noticeable. Sanger’s word choice enabled her to place herself in the audience, and reach out to the listeners and show she was one of them. With her statement, Sanger was conveying to the spectators that the life of everyone needed to be bettered, and the intelligence that was growing needed to be used in a way that benefited themselves and others, starting with the enhancement of birth control knowledge in all social classes. Though the speech is about the morality of birth control, it also spruces up the fact that many churches did not allow birth control, and how lack of knowledge to women about this contraception was unfair (Sanger, par. 15). Though this issue was still standing, Sanger allowed her words to flow into the ears of eager listeners, place herself into the slot of an average citizen, and show how persuasion can be used to manipulate others.
With the analysis of rhetorical strategies underway, I would like to discuss the presence of pathos in the speech. Sanger was a very passionate writer, and this allowed her to be absorbed into the paper. I noticed that, in Sanger’s speech, there were many emotionally loaded...

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