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Use of Rhetorical Appeals and Diction in Richard Wright’s Autobiographical Work, Black Boy

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Use of Rhetorical Appeals and Diction in Richard Wright’s Autobiographical Work, Black Boy

In his autobiographical work, Black Boy, Richard Wright wrote about his battles with hunger, abuse, and racism in the south during the early 1900's. Wright was a gifted author with a passion for writing that refused to be squelched, even when he was a young boy. To convey his attitude toward the importance of language as a key to identity and social acceptance, Wright used rhetorical techniques such as rhetorical appeals and diction.

In Black Boy, Wright used many rhetorical appeals. For example, in passage one, Wright was describing his first day on a job working for a white family. The white woman gave him stale bread and moldy molasses for breakfast and he refused to eat it. This is an appeal to emotion, or the pathos appeal. It is heartbreaking that this woman would only give Richard inedible food to eat for breakfast and then be shocked when he refused to eat it. This passage also makes the reader’s pride swell when Richard refused to eat the food. Also in the first passage the whit...


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