Rhetoric Analysis of an excerpt from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Rhetorical devices are used to strengthen writing and add dimension. When used properly, they add layers of complexity to any prose as well as further evidence for an argument. No one understood this better than Upton Sinclair. Four strong rhetoric devices are periodicity, the Rule of Three, metaphor and rhetorical questions. Sinclair masterfully demonstrates these in a speech featured in his novel, The Jungle.
Periodicity, also referred to as periodic sentences, is defined as long and frequently involved sentence in which the sense is not completely known until the last word. This is usually an exclamation or climactic sentence. Sinclair used this to gain the attention of the audience by drawing them in to a big finish. The person giving the speech in Sinclair’s novel states, “Months pass, years maybe-and then you come again; and again I am here to plead with you, to know if want and misery have yet done their work with you, if injustice and oppression have yet opened your eyes! By wording his speech this way, he begins by giving the audience an image of themselves, slowly leading them in until he makes his exclamation and thus making his point. In summation he writes: “The voice or power, wrought out of suffering – of resolution, crushed out of weakness – of joy and courage, born in the bottomless pit of aguish and despair. ” Again Sinclair, through the voice of the speaker, builds the audience slowly before making his final declaration. This serves to add power to his phrases and lasting resonance at the end of his speech.
Sinclair also uses the power of three in his speech in The Jungle. The speaker states, “Of the man who lies upon a bed of rags, wrestling in his last sickness, and leaving his loved ones to perish! ” He is demonstrating the “power of three”, whereby three different yet connected examples are used together to make a point or strengthen an image or argument. In literature, three has been considered the magic number for many decades. It is considered to be the right amount of evidence while still being easily remembered and retained by the reader.
As illustrated in this quote: “Tonight in Chicago there are ten thousand men, homeless and wretched, willing to work and begging for a chance, yet starving and fronting in terror the awful winter cold. ” This helps to establish that though more than three descriptors are used, they have been grouped into three assortments. This is still easy for the audience to ascertain, while being immensely descriptive. Sinclair used metaphors to add further depth, descriptiveness and understanding to his writing.
In this speech the author states, “feel the iron hand of circumstance close upon you a little tighter. ” By this, he is referring to the injustice suffered by the laborers being a large, immovable hand virtually smashing them in its fist. This metaphor added an interesting twist and gave the speech goers a visual that made it easier for them to comprehend. Sinclair also demonstrates this by stating, “With the voice of those, who ever and wherever they may be, who are caught beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of Greed! Sinclair used this metaphor to highlight that even those brave enough to try and rise up are at time corrupted by greed. Another rhetoric device utilized by Sinclair in his writing was rhetorical questions.
These are questions asked within a narrative or a monologue, which an answer is not necessary. The “answers” to the rhetorical questions are meant to be obvious and thought provoking. In his narrative, Sinclair asks, “Will it be the task of your masters, do you think – will they write the charter of your liberties? It is obvious that Sinclair was not using this question to open dialogue with the people listening to the speech, but rather to provoke deep thought about the current state of affairs. He goes on to ask, “Will they forge you the sword of your deliverance, will they marshal you the army and lead it to the fray? ” Again, he uses a rhetorical question to foster thought and make a point to the audience. This technique allows the audience to become more involved with the speaker. By asking him/her these questions, he is able to further draw them in and get them thinking in the direction of the speech.
Rhetorical devices can make the difference between a story or speech or even research paper being boring and forgettable to stirring and inspiring. In the inspiring speech featured in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair there are many rhetoric devices used to capture the attention and imagination of the audience. Sinclair does this well by properly using Periodicity, The “Rule of Three”, metaphor and Rhetorical questions. This not only adds strength to his writing but a memorable quality highlighted by the main character in the novel.