Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sojourner Truth - "And Ain't I a Woman?"

An excellent speaker, considering her background, Sojourner Truth was also a very influential figurehead of the time because she was an African American writer who was also a woman, which, for one, was totally unheard of, and created a snowball effect for other female writers to start publishing their works under their own name. Because she was a female African American writer, she was more influential than both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Her ability to speak so well led to helping equality blossom. She spoke of how many men were thinking that women were so delicate and that they needed help getting in and out of carriages and over puddles of mud; her main point in this is that she was also a woman - why had she not received any help from big, strong men like the white men (Truth, 370)? She had worked in the fields and done all the difficult work, even more than other pity women, and she had never received anything in return (Truth, 370). She showed the world that she did the jobs, like working in the fields, that no white man of the North could do (Truth, 370). The difference between the Northerners and herself was that she had no choice to be a slave and do all that hard work. The main reason this work fits into Realism is because she concentrated so much more on looking to the future and living in the now than searching in the past for all of life's answers (Truth, 370). The focus, however, had nothing to do with religion, but was mostly on government and its issues at the time. Truth's two largest goals were for equality among races and between sexes. The government, however, was segregating the people and "allowing" slavery to continue and was giving fewer and fewer rights to women because they did not work and played such belittling roles in society, anyway. But, equal rights was still the highest priority for Sojourner Truth, and, to do that, she was forced to disobey the government's laws, like she is talking about in "And Ain't I a Woman?" (Truth, 370). She thinks that the government suppresses the Negro because of their alleged lack of intelligence. She asks rhetorically, "What's that got to do with women's rights or Negroes rights?" (Truth, 370). Human nature and nature itself do not arise much in this particular work of Realism, but one could argue that, because she tries to change the ideas of other people to benefit herself and people like her and in the same situation, there is some human nature in the speech. And, the American Dream is huge in "And Ain't I a Woman?" because the basic American Dream is to have what everyone else has, which, in this case, is freedom and equality. Not only did she fight for her own rights, Truth was an icon for all the slaves and people looking to have the same rights as their neighbors. Figurative language was not so much part of this work because of its nature, and the Hero is only a person that might come in later but is not in this speech. A Hero to Sojourner Truth would have been a person who comes to take her to salvation and a life of happiness (Truth, 370).

Works Cited

Truth, Sojourner. "And Ain't I a Woman?" Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 370. Print.

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