'Strange Fruit' A Rhetorical Analysis of Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol's Song about Lynching in the South

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Publication Date

Spring 4-14-2021


Created by a well known jazz singer Billie Holiday and English school teacher Able Meeropol, "Strange Fruit" is one of the biggest uncensored pieces of musical literature in the early 1900s. My paper uses a rhetorical perspective based on the three rhetorical appeals (pathos, ethos, and logos) to examine the strategies used in this song to enlighten the listeners about a devastating time period in terms of the history of race relations in America. The analysis talks about how well the rhetorical strategies are used in the context of that time. The song writers used their position as a jazz singer and a teacher to reach a wider audience. The fact that one of the writers was an African American individual increased the song's ethos in bringing attention to the racial lynching problem. The song called the American audience of the time to help in a movement to rid the United States of racial lynching.


ENGL 165

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