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Analysis About the Atlanta Exposition Address

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Is it feasible to mend the relationship between two friends in a cold war for a few days? Probably yes. What about asking thousands of people that are divided into two groups and have prejudice and ethnic discrimination over many years to work together? It seems ri-diculous. However, neglecting the traditional views about the inharmonic relationship be- tween blacks and whites, Booker T. Washington, an influential educator and the founder of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, realizes the importance of mutual progress no mat- ter what conflicts people had before. Therefore, in his speech The Atlanta Exposition Ad-dress, Washington adopts rhetorical devices such as metaphor and repetition, logos, and pa-thos to promote the cooperation between black race and white race in order to build up the economic prosperity in the South. In this speech, he wants to warn his peer blacks against a feeling of entitlement to accompany their newfound freedom, while reassuring his audience of whites that the abolition of slavery is nothing to be feared, since blacks and whites have the same shared goals in revitalization of the south.

First of all, by employing metaphor and repetition in his speech, Washington informs his audience about the significance of cooperation between black race and white race during the process of improving economic condition. For example, in the third paragraph, Washing- ton depicts an urgent condition on the ocean: the members of a lost vessel almost died due to the lack of water, but later being notified to cast down the bucket and fill it with water by a friendly ship, they survived (Washington 418). By metaphorically referring the situation he depicts to the reality, Washington implies that the way to approach their mutual goal is actu-ally close at hand, and it is a key element to save them from the economic depression. Addi-tionally, through applying a vivid and close-to-life image to illustrate an abstract idea, Wash-ington displays his thoughts about the need of cooperation between the two races clearly and enables the audience to better understand his intention. To further illustrate his point, Wash-ington repeats the sentence “ Casting down your bucket where you are” in the speech for sev-eral times. This repetition of imperative sentence creates a sense of eagerness and urgency, making the audience be aware of an approachable way to achieve their goal. What’s more, by applying “ Casting down your bucket where you are” to many aspects of both white and black’s lives (Washington 418), Washington shows the credibility of his method and there-fore arouses the interests of his audience.

Secondly, Washington appeals to pathos in his speech to promote the cooperation be-tween the two races. In the speech, Washington uses many descriptions to illustrate the rela-tionship between the blacks and whites. For example, Washington states that African Ameri-cans “do not for a moment forget that [their] part in this exhibition would fall far short of [white people’s expectations] but for the constant help that has come to [their] educational life”(Washington 419), and they will also help white man to “till their fields”, “clear their forests” and “build their railroads and cities”(Washington 418). By expressing black people’s gratitude for the white people, Washington evokes a sense of sympathy from whites, appeal-ing them to collaborate with the humble and loyal blacks. At the same time, he also provokes the emotion of the black. For example, he states that African Americans have already estab-lished their first step in the commercial world through their hard work

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