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"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Rhetorical Devices

Rhetorical device identification and examples as seen in Edwards's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon

Chelsa Anderson

on 1 October 2018

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Transcript of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Rhetorical Devices

in the
of an
Angry God



An Overview of the Rhetorical Devices in Edwards's Sermon
Your Task
The Crucible Connection
Figures of Speech
Emotional Appeals
epic simile, metaphor,
imagery, allusion, symbol
scare tactic,
anaphora, polysyndeton
homonym, alliteration
parallel structure,
rhetorical question, isocolon
Figures of Speech
epic simile
an extended comparision between two unlike objects, using the words like, as, resembles, than
"Incenst with indignation
Satan Stood Unterrifi'd,
and like a Comet burnd,
That fires the length of Ophiucus huge
In the' Artick sky,
and from his horrid hair Shakes
Pestilence and Warr..."

Paradise Lost
"The wrath of God is like
great waters that are
dammed for the present;
they increase more and more, and
rise higher and higher,
till an outlet is given;
and the longer the stream is
stopped, the more rapid and
mighty is its course,
when once it is let loose."

a comparison between two unlike objects,
stating that one thing is another
"All the
a stage"
"The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string..."
a reference to something (literature, location, myth, art, etc) either directly or by implication
visually descriptive language
Emotional Appeals
"The floods of God's vengeance have been withheld" -"Sinners"
Remus Lupin's name: Remus alludes to the Roman myth of Remus and his twin brother Romulus; Lupin alludes to the Latin meaning "wolf"
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
words having the same pronunciation
but different meanings, origins, or spelling
the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words
the repetition of a word or phrase
at the beginning of successive clauses
parallel structure
rhetorical question
a balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses due to having the same grammatical structure
a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply
scare tactic
a strategy intended to influence public reaction by the exploitation of fear
For Tonight
structure in which phrases or clauses of a sentence are of approximately equal length as well as a similar syntactic structure
discourse that threatens punishment, misfortune, or disaster
Edwards uses
isocolon in
the last
of the fourth
"The waters are constantly rising, and waxing more and more mighty; and there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, that holds the waters back..."

I said,
"Who killed him?"
and he said,
"I don't know
who killed him
but he's dead
all right," and it
was dark and
there was water
standing in the
street and no lights
and windows broke
and boats all up in
the town and trees
blown down and
everything all blown
and I got a skiff and
went out and found
my boat..."

Ernest Hemingway,
"After the Storm"
"But, alas!
instead of one,
how many is it likely
will remember this
discourse in

"Who is here
so vile that will
not love his country?"

Julius Caesar
"They increase more and more, and rise higher and higher..."

"With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we be free one day."

Martin L. King Jr., "I Have a Dream"
the art of expressive speech or discourse (Webster's 1932)
language characterized by artificial or ostentatious expression (OED 1955)
the art of speaking or writing effectively (OED 2009)
"The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present"

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
"and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with incon-ceivable fury..."

"and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do..."
"But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land."
-Martin L. King, Jr., "I Have a Dream"
Read Edwards's fifth paragraph
Let us read the sixth paragraph together.
a thing that stands for itself as well as something beyond itself, such as an abstraction
the conch in Lord of the Flies
God's hands
"you hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it"

"He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache"
-description of Vernon Dursley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Choose one of the rhetorical devices we focused on today, find a new example from the sermon, and write a Rhetorical Term Entry identifying the device and explaining its function and its pay-off (how does it achieve a rhetorical goal, and how does it contribute to the overall message of Edwards's sermon?).

Look to the handout for more complete guidelines and an example.
The narrator of The Crucible states that "the necessity of the Devil may become evident as a weapon, a weapon designed and used time and time again in every age to whip men into a surrender to a particular church or church-state" (Miller 34).
Rhetoric defined by rhetoricians in Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student:
"the art or discipline that deals with the use of discourse, either spoken or written, to inform or persuade or motivate an audience, whether that audience is made up of one person or a group of persons" (Corbett & Connors 1).
the use of coordinating conjunctions
in rapid succession
Jonathan Edwards
Full transcript