Literary Analysis Of Success Is Counted Sweetest

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While it cannot be argued that Abraham Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” (Address) and Emily Dickinson’s masterpiece known as the “Success is Counted Sweetest” are timeless pieces in literature, some could debate on their placement in the literary categories. Generally, Abraham Lincoln’s Address is labeled as rhetoric while Emily Dickenson’s “Success is Counted Sweetest” is considered to be a poem. The best way to distinguish one from the other would be to go through the elements of rhetorical discourse and see where the literatures show similarities, or otherwise express their differences in their style.
In short, rhetorical discourse is defined by six specific characteristics, to wit: (1) having been planned; (2) having been adapted
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As Lloyd F. Bitzer so famously stated, “rhetoric applies to contingent and probably matters which are subjects of actual or possible disagreement by serious people, and which permit alternative beliefs, values, and positions.” Slavery was undeniably a major disagreement between the people of the United States to the point where there was a Civil War as a direct result. The North and the South had different “beliefs, values, and positions” regarding slavery, which Lincoln focused on in his Address. At that time, Lincoln knew that slavery was immoral and should be abolished accordingly. He worked up until the very day that he died to ensure that there would be equality and freedom in the United States.
On the other hand, Emily Dickenson’s poem “Success is Counted Sweetest” is an easier literature to break down as far as its length. Indeed, Dickenson uses few words to communicate her stance with regard to the issues pertaining to the Civil War; nevertheless, she shares characteristics of rhetorical discourse with Lincoln’s Address in the sense that her poem was indeed (1) planned; (2) targeted towards an audience; (3) pressed by human motives; (4) responsive to a situation; (5) presented in a persuasive manner; and (6) related to contingent
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