A Moveable Feast: 11th American Literature/Composition

11th American Literature/Composition Winter 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008: Responding to Patrick Henry August 15, 2008

Filed under: Unit 2 Revolutionary Period Unit — The Unquiet Librarian @ 1:05 am
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What was Henry’s purpose in this speech? Who was his audience? Were his words appropriate for his audience? Why or why not? What were some of the rhetorical questions that Henry used? What purpose do rhetorical questions serve in a speech? What were some of the literary allusions he used in this speech to persuade his audience that America had to fight for independence?

If you had been a member of the Virginia Convention listening to his speech, would you have been swayed by his arguments? Why or why not? What is your gut-level reaction to this speech?

In two paragraphs, respond to each set of questions. Write a paragraph of 8-10 sentences for each set of questions, please.

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6 Responses to “Thursday, August 14, 2008: Responding to Patrick Henry”

  1. matt Says:

    Henry’s purpose in his speech was to tell the colonist to wake up, because there are going to have to fight the British. His audience is the colonist surrounding him. Yes the words were appropriate for his speech because they were very influential and made the colonist realize what was happening. Rhetorical question shows the obvious answers to the problems they have. Patrick Henry alluded to the bible and the odyssey many times in his speech.
    If I was a member of the congress and had to listen to his speech I would have been swayed in his direction. Henry was very good at showing his emotions and getting straight to the point in his speech. He made very good points and used a lot of methods of persuasion. But if I was a colonist in these times I would have definitely joined with Henry because he was such a great speaker.

  2. Alanah Says:

    Henrys purpose in this speech was to persuade people to want freedom. Patrick henrys audience were the colonist. I think that his words were appropriate for his audience because he was trying to tell them that freedom is a lot and if you don’t have that then you might as well just kill him. Rhetorical questions make the speech seem like he is asking you something so therfor you are thinking. When shall we get stronger?, will it be next week or next year?. These questions make you think.
    If I were a member of the Virginia Conventions listening to patrick henrys speech I would have been persuaded by his speech. His speech made you think about things and made you want to get up and go fight for your freedom right there. My gut s reaction was “give me liberty or give me death.”

  3. Kayla Says:

    Patrick Henry’s purpose in his speech was to let his community realize that Britain is controlling them and that they are practically allowing it. His audience was the Virginia Convention administration and the colonists that actually was interested in what he had to say. Henry’s words was completely precise and was an exact reflection of the colonist’s. Henry is asking his audience how can they get stronger with the British right on their backs, telling them that they are being deceived by the British. The rhetorical questions serve as repetition throughout the speech and it possibly answers the questions his audience is thinking. He used biblical references and also references from ancient mythology. If I was a member of the Virginia Convention I would been absolutely swayed and inspired by his arguments because Henry put so much thought and passion into his speech to per swayed all of the world. My reaction to Patrick Henry’s speech was shocking because it took him a lot of guts to get up and praise in what believes in.

  4. Kendall Says:

    Henry’s purpose in this speech was to pursaude the people to want freedom. His audience was the colonist.I believe that Henry’s words were appropite for his speech because they made the colonist relize what was happening. That they were possibaly facing war with the British. If I was a colonist Henry’s speech would of pursadued me to fallow his word.

  5. Michael Says:

    Henry’s purpose in speech was to tell his people that they need to open there eyes because the British wants to fight them. The words he used were some what perfect, and appropriate for the speech he gave, because he knocked some since into his audience, which was the colonist, to see what was going on. Rhetorical questions helped to show the issues they might be having. Numerous times did Patrick Henry say things about the bible in his speech and the odyssey too. If I was a colonist listening to his speech I would definitely be on his side. He got the point across in a short and simple way. All his persuasive words would make me see what was going on.

  6. Carla Says:

    I think that this speech is very interesting in its own ways such as the way it is set up. Also I find it to be a little hard to understand in many different ways. I think that he is a very good person to give a speech to or about. He is very details in his work. I think that he needs to rewrite this speech in today’s terms.


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