Helen Keller, against all odds, became a mouthpiece for many causes in the early to mid-twentieth century. She advocated for causes such as building institutions for the blind, schools for the deaf, women’s suffrage and pacifism. When America was in the most desperate of times, her voice stood out. Helen Keller spoke at Carnegie Hall in New York raising her voice in protest of America’s decision to join the World War. The purpose of this paper will analyze the devices and methods Keller used in her speech to create a good ethos, pathos, and logos.
In 1916 the United States was amidst the first of the World Wars. Keller hoped to rally people to “Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace and the butcheries of war. Strike against war” (). To promote pacifism, she insisted that it was the American citizen who is responsible for the destruction of war and that there is no purpose for the United States to join the war. Keller’s audience was the average American citizen, anyone who could cast a legal vote, but particularly parents and workers. Several times throughout her speech she referenced children, factory workers. The Women’s Peace Party and the Labor Forum were present.
Keller used a variety of methods in her speech. The majority of her words used pathos. For example, Keller said “The future of America rests on the backs of 80,000,000 working men and women and their children. We are facing a grave crisis in our natural life. The few who profit from the labor of the masses want to organize the workers into an army which will protect the interests of the capitalists.” Here, she used pathos to elicit a scared or angry response fr...
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... was strictly a congressman’s war. “With all the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars. All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms.” She claimed that if Americans could strike against the war we could “Be heroes in an army of construction” (Keller, 4).
Because of Keller’s use of pathos to grab attention, using a strong, independent ethos and then backing it up using logos, it was easy to get wrapped up in her cause. Keller’s style was effective and left the audience with the desire to take action.
Keller, H. (1916, January). Strike Against War. Speech Presented at Carnegie Hall, New York City, New York.
“Hellen Keller Biography.” Bio.com. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/helen-keller-9361967
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