Compare/ Contrast Rhetorical Analysis Of Two Texts

1019 words - 5 pages

Although “From Letters from an American Farmer” and “An Indian’s Looking-Glass

for the White Man” are essays about the American racism, in “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for

the White Man,” William Apess directs his essays towards mostly whites, who are dominant

society at the time, and points his finger to the white society’s face. He writes about religion,

racism and its injustice, whereas, J. Hector St. John De Crevecoueur, who graphically shows

the atrocity of the slave’s punishment, analyzes the elements of coming face to face with the

terrors of slavery in “From Letters from an American Farmer.” In order to bring persuasive

effects to their essays, Apess uses more rhetorical ...view middle of the document...

Different from Crevecoeur’s rhetorical

strategy, Apess does not use much pathos in his essay; he continuously pressures his

audience with his anaphora, in fact, he does not leave emotions for his readers but

uncomfortably obsessive and aggressive accusation. The most immediately obvious elements

of the speech are the relationship with his audience generated by using a large number of

repeated phrases. Apes uses the same phrases at the beginning of successive sentences “Now

I ask,” “Now let me ask you.” Sometimes he uses another way of asking “I would ask one

question more,” then, sometimes dripping with irony “let me ask you a few sincere

questions.” The combination of anaphora and rhetorical questions, as we can see, causes

more intense as the speech goes on. As we can see, at first, Apess addresses the audience

warmly as “friends” or “readers,” but, all of a sudden, he brings the subject of skin color to

the center stage, and then addresses the audience as “white men.” And then, deep in his

speech, when it gets to his climax of anger, Apess addresses them with ironic voice “my

white brother.”

Moreover, Apess uses rhetorical questions to put his audiences on their hot seats in

order to make them recognize the current situation that happens to the Indians. He also shows

his anger for the mistreatment the Indians and other races suffer from the predominant white

Christians, raising the idea that the bible and the concept of religion should be revised. He

uses rhetorical question effectively by raising questions such as "Is not religion the same now

under a colored skin as it ever was? If so, I would ask, why is not a man of color respected?"

(Apess 51), Apess claims that if God loves only white people why did he create fifteen other

races? He also emphasizes that neither Jesus nor his disciples are white skinned and why are

the whites superior? “If any man says I love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar” (Apess

51). Continuously, he gives more questions to show that he cannot understand...

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