Sojourner Truth- Ain’t I A Woman Essay, Research Paper
In 1851, many Northern clergymen and Christian women who were members
of a liberal and progressive society met to hear this famous speech by
Sojourner Truth. She believed that women should be active members of
society; that they leave their private spheres and face the world. She also
believed strongly that women should be entitled to the same rights and
privileges that men had at that time. She was so bold in her speaking that it
has been said at a conference one man proclaimed, there is no way this could
be a woman, because only a man can speak like that. Subsequently, she
proceeded to rip open her shirt and show that she really was a woman after
all. This proved women could speak publicly just as well as men.
She begins this speech with calling her audience children; not because
she thought highly of herself or of her intellect for that matter. She was
incredibly straight-forward and blunt. She may have referred to them as
children because she was an older woman and had been through many trials.
They were also bickering and had much to learn from someone with wisdom.
Her down-home attitude was reflected in her dialogue, which was not quite
what one would call standard English. It just showed her audience her beliefs
had come from experience, not schooling. She was there to inform them of
the conflict that she felt was very apparent.
Because she wouldn t wish to contradict her own arguments, to prove
her point more effectively, she listed examples that she felt contradicted each
other. Men said women were too delicate; they must be over protected. This
was a contradiction to the conditions she faced while she was a slave. At one
point, she rolled up her sleeve to showed off her muscles; this was to prove
that she was as strong as any man.
To appeal to the audiences logic she cleverly yet humorously uses
examples from the Bible. She points out, Christ came from God and a
woman, and man had nothing to do with Him! To boost her credibility, she
also uses Eve as an example. God made Eve strong enough to turn the
world upside down, so why could not all the women now turn it right side
Many members of her audience also connected with her message
emotionally. She spoke about having to watch her children being sold to
slavery. It must have struck a chord to any mother in the audience because if
they thought of themselves being in that situation, they would sympathize
with her. At another point she called a member in the audience honey.
By using specific examples she made her message more personal. The
way she carried herself and spoke brought one to feel as if one were a friend
or family member, rather than a stranger. Ending with a down home tone, yet
being quick to the point, she thanks the audience for listening to her and
says, Now old Sojourner ain t got nothing more to say.