Sojourner Truth Literary Analysis

"Speech to the American Equal Rights Association"

About this Speech

Who: Sojourner Truth

What: Speech to encourage the equal rights of women, specifically colored women.

When: May 9, 1867

Where: New York City

Why: It is clear that the colored men have been set free, but have the colored women? They are still living the same as slaves. Awareness must be raised and action must take place for the equal rights of colored women.

MAIN IDEA:

''There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before."



  • Equality for colored women as it has been granted for colored men
  • Freedom for colored women
  • Equal rights

Organization

Figurative Language

"I suppose I am about the only colored woman that goes about to speak for the rights of the colored women. I want to keep the thing stirring, now that the ice is cracked."


  • Sojourner Truth uses an idom to express how the importance for equal rights for colored women has finally began to break out. Therefore she wants to continue to spread the word now that the word is out.


"But help us now until we get it. It is a good consolation to know that when we have got this battle once fought we shall not be coming to you any more. You have been having our rights so long, that you think, like a slave-holder, that you own us. I know that it is hard for one who has held the reins for so long to give up; it cuts like a knife. It will feel all the better when it closes up again."



  • Sojourner Truth uses a simile to express how it may feel for the colored men to help the colored women out in gaining equality. She points out that it may be hard and hurt as if they were cut by a knife. Though in the end the wounds from them helping will close and it will be worth it in the long run.

Rhetorical Devices

"There ought to be equal rights now more than ever, since colored people have got their freedom. I am going to talk several times while I am here; so now I will do a little singing. I have not heard any singing since I came here."

"We are going home. There, children, in heaven we shall rest from all our labors; first do all we have to do here. There I am determined to go, not to stop short of that beautiful place, and I do not mean to stop till I get there, and meet you there, too."


  • Sojourner Truth uses setentia at the end of her speech to sum up the preceding material. She uses it wrap up her argument for equal rights for colored women. She does this by using the song that she sings concluding her speech.

Author's Purpose

"I suppose I am about the only colored woman that goes about to speak for the rights of the colored women. I want to keep the thing stirring, now that the ice is cracked. What we want is a little money. You men know that you get as much again as women when you write, or for what you do. When we get our rights we shall not have to come to you for money, for then we shall have money enough in our own pockets; and may be you will ask us for money. But help us now until we get it. It is a good consolation to know that when we have got this battle once fought we shall not be coming to you any more. You have been having our rights so long, that you think, like a slave-holder, that you own us. I know that it is hard for one who has held the reins for so long to give up; it cuts like a knife. It will feel all the better when it closes up again."

  • Sojourner Truth wants help. She wants the men to help fight for them and help them gain their freedom. She wants to keep fighting until the end. She does not want to ever give up. She wants to spread awareness.

Real World Connections

Women's Rights 1867 vs. 2015

Just as Sojourner Truth is fighting for in her speech, equal rights for women, some women still fight for. There are many countries in which women are still looked at as if they are property. As well as in the U.S. there is a common debate, especially in the business profession, if men are more successful because of gender. Whether or not they are first to climb up the ladder and if they are paid more. Feminism plays a huge part in our society.

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