Rhetorical Analysis: “the Challenger Address”

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Rhetorical Analysis: “The Challenger Address”
The rhetorical situation refers to “a situation in which people’s understanding can be changed through messages.” (Zarefsky, 12). The rhetorical situation analysis consists of four elements: audience, occasion, speaker and speech, each assessing the quality of speech. In this essay, I will analyze the rhetorical situation of the historical speech “The Challenger Address” delivered by the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

Americans had high expectations of the space programs which intended to provide the United States a great sense of achievement. The significance of the space program lies in essence in which symbolized American glory in science and technology. (Lambright) Therefore, the audience of Reagan’s speech was American public; those who had experienced the tragic national loss of seven American astronauts resulted from the failure of space regime. Evidence of Reagan constantly involving American citizens prevail throughout the speech. He specifically engaged the audience by employing words such as “we,” “us,” “schoolchildren of America,” giving the audience a sense of involvement in the national matter. Reagan also acknowledged pain of the families of the seven astronauts. He showed his understanding of pain of families by saying “we feel the loss, and we are thinking about you so very much,” “your loved ones,” which was an attempt to console them by implicitly suggesting that the families are the primary audience of this speech. Moreover, he created a feeling that he and his wife Nancy are too involved as part of the public.

The occasion of speech determines what speaker attempts to address. Audiences expect the speaker to arrive conclusions in an appropriate behavior depending on the occasion. Reagan’s speech on space camp could be categorized in two dimensions: deliberative and forensic speech. It was a deliberative speech because Reagan intended to address “what should be done in...
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