Style in the public addresses of Henry W. Grady

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1967

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This study analyzes the five major speeches of Henry W. Grady in an attempt to describe his style. Rhetoricians and speech critics from antiquity to the present are studied for their comments on style, and criteria are developed whereby the style of Henry W. Grady might be analyzed according to the constituents of style-composition, embellishment, and choice of words. Analysis of Grady's speeches indicates these characteristics of his style, Rhythm is an outstanding characteristic of Grady's style. Rhythm in his speeches comes primarily from parallelism, antithesis, and repetition. The speeches all fit the same pattern of structure. The introduction includes complimentary remarks to the audience and, except in one speech, is very brief. Two or three main points usually follow, and a stirring peroration concludes the speech. Grady consistently uses the rhetorical question as a transitional device. Antithesis of words or Ideas is another device he uses. Anecdotes provide light touches of humor or an occasional note of pathos to the speech. Grady's sentences are often quite long and contain many parallel elements. His sentences generally contain active verbs and frequently contain imperative verbs. Inverted sentence structure occurs occasionally. Direct address Is a major characteristic of only one speech. Embellishment in Grady's speeches is primarily an extensive use of tropes and figures. All five of the speeches contain numerous examples of figurative language. A comparison of the speeches reveals that he used similar figures in several instances. In addition to figurative language, Grady embellishes his speeches with quotations, light touches of humor, deistic references, and Biblical allusions. Grady's diction and wide vocabulary range give evidence of his Journalistic and literary background. His vocabulary seems to be on the same level in all his speeches. There are examples in all the speeches of hackneyed phrases, euphemisms, and highly connotative words. The range of subject matter in the five speeches is limited to the race problem, Southern economy, and decentralization. Grady was thoroughly familiar with all aspects of these problems because of his interest in them and because of his editorial duties. Preparation of the speech manuscripts varied from several weeks of intense preparation to five hours of hasty dictation.

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