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Literature & Language
English (U.S.)
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Literary Categories: Distinguishing Lincoln's work from Dickinson's (Essay Sample)


What case could be made, if any, for distinguishing Lincoln’s work from Dickinson’s? Do they belong in different literary categories?Refer back to the resources of language – argument, appeal,
arrangement, and artistic devices – in thinking about these two pieces. Does each employ
all four resources?
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What case could be made, if any, for distinguishing Lincoln’s work from Dickinson’s? Do they belong in different literary categories?
Second Inaugural Address by Abraham Lincoln Fellow-Countrymen is a rhetorical discourse while Success Is Counted Sweetest by Emily Dickinson work is a poetic discourse. Lincoln audience is the public and American citizens. The pieces highlight the loss that Americans suffered during the Civil War, and even as there was massive loss, there was hope for a successful future. According to Herrick (9) rhetorical discourse is “planned, adapted by the audience, shaped by human activities, responsive to situations, persuasion seeking and is concerned with contingent issues.” Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, relies on the elements of argument, appeal, arrangement, and artistic devices to heal a divided nation pitying the North against the South.
Both discourse use argument focusing on loss and triumph, where Lincoln argues that the warring parties during the war all lost. Lincoln further used arguments to call for compromise to former rivals now that the Civil War had ended, while also envisioning a brighter future for America. This is evidenced by the statement, “Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease.” On the other hand, Dickinson argues that those who are defeated appreciate the victory as they lose unlike the victors. “Success is counted sweetest, by those who ne'er succeed,” (Stanza 1, line 1-2). Dickinson uses military imagery with the purple host representing the victorious army who captured the Flag, but then the single dying soldier then understands victory when the victors are celebrating.
Lincoln relies on pathos appealing to the emotions of Americans as he emphasized that the slave holding South and the North both worshipped the same God and read the same Bible. This was an attempt at bringing the people together following the bitter rivalry that ensued during the war, and efforts by the Southern states to break away from the Union. Since rhetorical discourse is responsive to situations, Lincoln is successful by effectively using symbolic expression to persuade the nation to be unified (Herrick 8). “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, and that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away” (Lincoln). Dickinson appeals...
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