Literary Techniques used by Ida B. Wells in her A Red Record

Thesis

Categories on topics of literary works are evident in the sense that every publication tackles an issue with certain commonalities to the works of other writers thus interweaving discussions of certain specified topics.

What differs from each literature though, is how the writer delivers the message he wishes his readers to react upon whether be that concluding to a bolstering of a profound analysis, triggering passionate desire of deeper understanding and/ or overall influencing the reader to contribute to the subject matter’s campaign.

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Each author has his own style of writing to which he spellbinds his readers through his tale, a preview of his owns thinking and feelings on the subject matter. In the case of Ida B. Wells, the stand of her “A Red Record” pamphlet is that of a rhetoric where the writer presents arguments and evidences of her cause to readers in such a way that she prevents her audience to form a conclusion that her claims are biased or untrue.

Simple, Direct and Rhetoric Writing

According to her autobiography, “Crusader for Justice”, Ida B. Wells’ general writing style is very much simplistic and direct to the point as she once cited that she “needed to help people with little or no schooling deal with problems in a simple, common-sense language”.

Though her message in her written literature was clear in the fight against lynching practices on Afro-Americans, Wells had managed to persuade her readers convincingly by painting a vivid picture of the cruel and brutal realities of what was happening in the South of the country.

Wells backed her claims and conclusions with sufficient evidences provided by daily newspapers, articles and other documents publicly released and written by different groups of individuals from those who have little or no compassion or interest on the series of events on lynching or the general subject for that matter, biased white men and/ or Negros, Englishmen who have capital interests and also she based her arguments from interviews conducted by different social, political and cultural groups which wished to be involved or form an opinion on the discussion on lynching in the United States.

Wells was considered a rhetoric in a sense that she accumulated and mostly put into use data gathered (statistical records, interviews or published articles) by white southern newspapers to add credibility to her point of view while at the same time earning the trust of her readers and intentionally leaving the latter in no doubt that real people were caught in deadly dilemmas throughout the southern parts of the country, triggering an emotional response through the argument rather than exhortation (Campbell 437).

Structure and Composition

In the Composition of her pamphlet, A Red Record, Wells’ style in organizing was evident in the way she outlined the literature by initially introducing the background of her cause further elaborating the conditions of what was happening, emphasizing the importance of the year 1894 and narrating the events that had followed through the course of ten (10) years.

As the author proceeds with her discussion, she showcased statistical data of the number of lynches committed on colored individuals basing her sources from notable white newspapers, directing her readers’ attention that evidences were provided by third parties as to clearly dismiss thoughts of biases against the author before she further classifies and examines cases in terms of the guilty Negros and how the law abuses them with prejudice detailing the events that have occurred before the crimes were committed and proving her point that injustice was made indeed through ignorance of the law and passiveness of the civil servants to protect the Negro race.

Wells, through narrating to her audience the chronicles of events, spared her emotional opinions in the chapters where she discussed about the activities done.

The author silently aimed to win her readers’ compassion for the cries of her race by painting the cruelties of the white men of the south. Her tone in composing her article was solemn and serious but at the same time she was able to manage in providing entertainment by adding a twist of drama for every tragedy that had occurred, pulling heartstrings of her readers and prompting to an emotional and heavy atmosphere on the subject matter.

Conclusion and Reflection

Wells had managed to organize her work in a structure that is friendly to all types of readers from all educational levels for the literature was indeed written in a simplistic manner and direct to the point thus the pamphlet can easily be read and understood by all serving its purpose in spreading the word of the campaign against lynching in the Unites States.

Wells managed to divide the literature into subtopics breaking down the discussion into different angles and views so as to give her readers a clear and detailed presentation of the different aspects composing the subject matter.

On the later part of her work the writer was able to express her sentiments on the subject matter by recounting and clarifying claims of others about her works and actions, carefully tackling grey lines that may or had resulted to misunderstandings of the public. The author passionately urges her readers to be part of the remedy by spreading the word, finally showing her primary objective in writing the literature by persuading her readers in campaigning for her cause.

Works Cited

Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs. “Style and Content in the Rhetoric of Early Afro- American Feminists.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 72.4 (1986): 434-445. Print.

Wells, Ida. Crusader for Justice: Autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Books, 1991. Print.

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