Benjamin Banneker Letter Rhetorical Analysis

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Alyssa Sagan AP English 11 August 1, 2012 Anti-slavery Benjamin Banneker's letter to Thomas Jefferson focused on his anti-slavery views on the issue of slavery in our nation. His goal was to convey his message enough in order to persuade Jefferson to take action. Banneker uses numerous rhetorical strategies throughout the letter, for the purpose of motivating Jefferson into making a change in our nation. One of the many rhetorical strategies used by Banneker is alliteration. He constantly addresses the reader by “sir” before forwarding his statement. By frequently acknowledging the reader by “sir”, it catches the reader's attention in order to read more into depth. Banneker repeats the word “sir” several times when addressing him for…show more content…
Banneker uses Job's words, “put your souls in their souls stead”, to show Jefferson that he should realize how the slaves in our nation feel. Banneker tries relating Job's words to a saying most people have heard before, do one to other as you want done to yourself. He writes, “by recommending to you and all others to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with respect to them”, giving Jefferson advice without solely disrespecting his authority. He does not want to seem like he is directing him in any way so he compliments him. Banneker tries to put it in layman’s terms, advising him that what he's doing is wrong, but not telling him how to go about it. So by telling Jefferson that he should “practice what you preach”, he is persuading him in a way that Jefferson will realize what he is doing wrong. These rhetorical strategies Banneker uses, him the letter appeal more to Jefferson. They evoke an emotional response on the reader, and have a greater meaning behind them. By Banneker using these strategies, it made his letter to Jefferson a lot more powerful and meaningful. Banneker stated his opinions about slavery through these strategies and it truly made an impact as a whole on the

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