Monday, February 13, 2012

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth's speech at the Women Right's Convention at Akron, Ohio remains one of the bes appeals for women's rights ever recorded. It ties the lack of freedom the slaves had with the lack of rights women have, and makes a very strong emotional effect because of it. It can also be related to Trancendentalism because of the way her speech is asking for more freedom and rights.
Trancendentalists like Thoreau wanted to be free of every association that he did not want to have, especially to the government its self. Sojourner Truth wanted to be associated with the United States government, and wanted to be properly treated by it. She wanted to be able to vote and participate in the government that represented her. This is somewhat similar to Trancendentalism because she wanted to be treated as everyone else's legitimate equal.
Thoreau wrote in his essay Civil Disobedience that slavery was a discredit to the integrity of the United States. Sojourner Truth was also clearly opposed to slavery. The unfair deprivation of freedom enraged both of the two people, which is one of the similarities between the two philosophies.
It is a little bit difficult to compare a philosophy with a speech because speeches tend to revolve entirely around one topic. That only leaves one topic to compare with an entire philosophy. Things can still be inferred from a speech though, like that Sojourner Truth was a very religious woman, considering that she was able to argue about theology with ministers of several different denominations (Truth). This is dissimilar with Trancendentalists because they were spiritual but not religious.
The difficulty with comparing Sojourner Truth to Trancendentalists like Thoreau is that Truth only has one five paragraph speech in which she lays out her thoughts, and it is impossible for a person to infer a great deal about her philosophy from those paragraphs (Snodgrass). The only obvious similarity between her and Thoreau is that they both though slavery was wrong.
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. "'Ain't I a Woman?'." Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. EFL009&SingleRecord=True.
Thoreau, Henry. "Thoreau's Civil Disobedience - 1." The Thoreau Reader. Web.
25Jan. 2012.
Truth, Sojourner. "Ain't I A Woman." Sojourner Home Page. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. .

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