Learning to Read and Write by Frederick Douglass

Intention:  The intention of this piece is to tell Douglass’ story of how he came to learn how to read and write.  The piece tells of the troubles and repercussions that reading and writing bestowed on Douglass. Style:  Douglass’ essay has a simplistic style.  His sentences are very direct and to the point; it is…

Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space by Brent Staples

Intention: The intention of this essay is to illustrate the plight of black men being automatically labeled as criminals and treated as such. Style: In the very first paragraph, Staples refers to a random woman on the street as his, “first victim.” Immediately, the audience knows this is not going to be a happy piece…

Letter From Birmingham Jail

Intention: Martin Luther King Jr. uses rhetorical strategies to show his audience the reasons why he is willing to go to jail for what he believes in. Pathos: MLK appeals to emotion by giving very descriptive reasons to why the African Americans could not wait for change any longer. “But when you have seen vicious…

More than Just a Shrine – Ellis Island by Mary Gordon

Intention: To inform the reader of what it was like for American immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Throughout the essay she describes some of the hardships and prejudices that these people had to face in order to reinforce her point. Tone: Throughout the essay she keeps a level and somewhat formal tone; at times…

Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.

The intention of King’s piece is to justify his use of nonviolent protest to try and end the discrimination that was happening in Birmingham, Alabama. He is explaining to his audience why the protesting is necessary and how there are deep rooted problems not only in Birmingham but all throughout the South. He is trying…

Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood by Richard Rodriguez

The intention of Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood is to make known and reflect on the struggles of bilingual children in an environment where English had become the primary language for communication. Rodriguez uses first person accounts of his life and family culture to describe what he lost and gained while transitioning from…

And Ain’t I a Woman? By Sojourner Truth

The intention of this piece was to bring to light the hardships African American women faced and still had to deal with. She compares the “hardships” that other groups have felt and to show how different the life of an African American woman is. Throughout the piece Truth repeats the phrase, “Aren’t I a woman?”…

On Being Black and Middle Class by Shelby Steele

Logos: On page 698, Steele dedicates an entire paragraph to logos. He brings to the attention of the reader that “class and race are both similar in some ways and also naturally opposed.” Steele explains that it’s all in how class and race are defined. It only becomes a double bind when when they’re defined…

The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

Intention:  Lincoln delivered this speech after the battle of Gettysburg was fought in the American Civil War.  His speech was designed to remember all of the men who died in the battle of Gettysburg and to celebrate all of the soldiers who died while fighting for freedom. Quotation: “We have come to dedicate a portion…

Speech on the Signing of the Treaty of Port Elliott by Chief Seattle

There are two separate intentions in Chief Seattle’s speech, one for each of the audiences he is addressing. His intention for the white settlers is to make them rethink their actions and morals, and to leave them with a haunted feeling. The intention for his tribe is to instill a sense of hope in them, to…