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Florence Kelley: The Cruelty Of Child Labor

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In Florence Kelley's speech, she reveals her distraught views about child labor. Kelley argues the cruelty of “little white girls” being forced to work at unreasonable hours of the night while the common adult is at home receiving a good night's rest. Kelley underscores her ideas with exemplification, comparisons, and repetition. She begins her address by stating factual evidence: “We have, in this country, two million children under the age of sixteen years who are earning their bread.” This powerful opening statement grabs the audience’s attention and highlights the labor induced community in which the children are suffering from. The audience now have some insight of her alarming topic. Kelley next informs the crowd that tonight as they sleep, “several thousand little girls will be working in textile mills.” By including the audience in her statement ‒ the word “we”‒ she sheds light how this problem involves everyone. This realization makes the audience feel a sense of remorse and guilt. Kelley then turns to comparing the laws regarding child labor in selected states ‒ all which reveal one can find some form of child labor almost anywhere. She begins with the “better” state, Alabama. Here, “the law provides that a child under…show more content…
She proposes the idea that they can “enlist the workingmen on behalf of [their] enfranchisement” in hope to free the children. By suggesting a call to action, Kelley makes the audience feel included and motivated. Her sense of hope encourages the audience to join her in protecting the children. In her final statement, Kelley repeats her idea that “we should enlist the working men voters” on behalf of the children. She concludes with this idea to assert the audience of the actions that must be
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