Benjamin Banker shifts from respectful to cynical using allusion, repetition, and negative diction to prove that since all men are created equal, slavery must come to an end. Allusion provides examples for the author and is used to assist the reader with relating to and understanding a point or message. It makes the reader feel connected, and think along the lines of the author. Banker alludes to the Declaration of
Independence to remind Jefferson of the equality of all American men. This strategy acts as a reminder, and shows Jefferson that he, Banker, is intelligent and aware of his rights. Allusion is also used in the letter when Banker refers to Job, and his advice to his friends about enlarging their hearts with kindness. Thus, explaining how Banker wants Jefferson to feel toward slavery while still maintaining respect. Next, to illustrate the shift in tone, Banker uses repetition.
Repetition acts as a sound strategy, reminding the reader of an idea or thought. In this letter, the word “Side is repeated six times. This is done as a sign of respect toward Jefferson. Repetition of “sir” sticks in the readers mind and illustrates the principle of status in eighteenth century America and the lack of equality between men. The utilization of negative diction is powerful, and can alter the feelings of the reader. This strategy transformed the initial tone of respect to a cynical tone.
Banker for example, uses the words “groaning captivity’, “cruel oppression”, and “fraud” to describe slavery and to convey an inhumane and cynical feel. These words make the reader portray Jefferson, and slavery, in a negative light. These three strategies that Banker utilizes show how Jefferson own words that “all men are created equal” contradict the actions of America, by slavery being allowed. Each strategy alters the thoughts and emotions of the reader, swaying the, to agree with Banker and his liberating beliefs.
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