Revisiting Florence Kelley’s speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association



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Revisiting Florence Kelley’s speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association

Since, in this assignment, you’ll be observing Kelley’s speech paragraph by paragraph, start by numbering each paragraph. (There are twelve total paragraphs in her speech.)



For each paragraph:

  1. State Kelley’s main idea/focus.

  2. Take note of Kelley’s organization strategies (both how she organizes this specific paragraph and how it fits within the organization of the speech as a whole). Here are some possible organizational strategies:

    1. An assertion or claim followed by supporting details/examples (exemplification)

    2. A slight concession followed by a refutation/rebuttal

    3. A movement from general to specific (abstract to concrete)

    4. A movement from specific to general (concrete to abstract)

    5. Offering support for or an extension of a previous claim

    6. Intentional climactic ordering of examples/concrete details in a list (so as to save the most important or most emphatic for the end)

    7. Comparison and contrast (juxtaposition)

    8. Narration/anecdote

    9. Description/imagery

    10. Cause and effect

    11. Problem/solution

    12. The placement of the writer’s thesis/purpose statement (toward the beginning, middle, or end of passage)

  3. Identify all other rhetorical strategies (devices, elements, choices, etc.) present. Name the strategy and provide textual evidence. These may include, but are not limited to:

    1. Diction (intentional word choice)

    2. Imagery

    3. Language (formal, informal, conversational, slang, academic/jargon-filled, etc.)

    4. Choice of concrete details

    5. Empirical data

    6. Irony—situational or verbal (sarcasm)

    7. Figurative language (metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, understatement, allusion)

    8. Direct reference

    9. Analogy

    10. Anecdote

    11. Point of view

    12. Repetition (of words, phrases, images, specific ideas, etc.)

    13. Anticipating/addressing an opposing argument

    14. Rhetorical questions

    15. Direct address

    16. Syntax choices (parallel structure, anaphora, various sentence lengths, antithesis, purposeful fragments, polysyndeton, asyndeton, etc.)

Example for Paragraph #1

  1. Main idea/focus: Kelley provides the estimated number and age range of children working during the time of her speech.

  2. Organization strategies:

  • Her first sentence is more general (“in this country”); the second sentence is a bit more specific (“of Georgia…of Pennsylvania…in more enlightened states”).

  • She jumps right into providing specific, concrete information (“two million children under the age of sixteen years”, “in the cotton mills…in the coal-breakers”). There are no abstract ideas yet, no assertions made.

  • The second sentence orders the children’s ages from youngest to oldest, probably so that she can end with the sarcastic phrase “in more enlightened states.”

  1. Other rhetorical strategies:

    • 1st person collective point of view – “We”

    • Diction (or detail) to evoke pity – “earning their bread”

    • Sarcasm/verbal irony – “in more enlightened states”

    • Choice of concrete details and parallel structure – “in the cotton mills of Georgia”, “in the coal-breakers of Pennsylvania”


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