Rhetorical Analysis of What a Black Man Wants
Fredrick Douglas wrote and presented his What the Black Man Wants speech during the post civil war time period to demonstrate his straightforward views on the fact that even though the black race had just acquired freedom, they remained without equality and civil rights which gave their current freedom no meaning. Throughout his entire speech, Douglas rules over his audience with his parallel and emotional diction choice along with his assertive tone shifting towards anger and the answering of his own questions multiple times to emphasize his seriousness.
When Fredrick speaks to his audience, he does not choose all his words with the separation of blacks and whites in mind. He uses words such as “our”, “my friends” , or “my fellow men”, which he uses whenever he talks of his race’s desires. His words combine the whites and blacks as one, displaying to his audience that despite the discrimination, Douglas still believes that everyone is all part of the same family. He places these including words all throughout his speech, assisting in the audiences grip of what Douglas wants them to know. He wants them to know everything he views about his desires for civil rights and is confidently upfront about it, using phrases such as “I want…” or “All i ask for is…” in a parallel structure that way the audience does not miss one single detail. This is why throughout the entirety of his speech a lot of the same equality words resurface, and the repetitive use of the same phrases, typically starting with “I”, or “We”, or “Us”, do so as well. Again, he does this on purpose that way every point he makes and every desire he wishes to see fulfilled is imbedded in each audience members mind, and hopefully sparks a desire in at least one of them for a change.
Although Fredrick approaches his diction choice with an emotional and parallel structure, his assertive tone is what is really at work. His entire purpose, in short, is to...
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