Advanced English Module B: Critical Study Speeches; Bandler & Anwar Sadat

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  • Topic: Israel, Hosni Mubarak, Gamal Abdel Nasser
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‘Interpretations of texts can shift and change with time and place’ Considering your time and place, reflect on the ways in which context has shaped your critical interpretation of the prescribed texts and how your understanding of rhetorical devices have led to your appreciation of the speeches.

Throughout time society has been presented with very unique and moving leaders who have successfully delivered speeches that will remain timeless and invaluable due to their powerful themes and beliefs portrayed within them. Speeches such as Faith Bandler’s “Hope, Faith and Reconciliation” and Anwar Sadat’s “Statement to the Knesset” will always remain significant within society and will never become dependent on shaping today’s society but be a memory of our past and a reminder of who we are today. Only very few texts still remain today that are highly regarded as being timeless and have the ability to still be understood in today’s society. I believe this is attributed to the underlying significant themes and ideas such as justice that will continue to appeal to people and allow them to sympathise with the author disregarding the time period. The themes behind the everlasting texts give the audience to have a universal perception and interpretation that can differ depending on external factors and ways of life. Another important reason of why I believe these texts have the ability to shape our interpretations of them are because of the pivotal nature and characteristics that the speeches hold in our past that has developed and crawled into our future.

Faith Bandler’s speech entitled “Faith, Hope and Reconciliation” is a text that I perceive to be considered as timeless and still relevant in today's society.

Faith Bandler is a renowned Aboriginal activist who was instrumental in the 1967 referendum. Born in Tumbulgum, she was deeply influenced by her father who had experienced life as a slave plantation worker first hand, who died when Faith when Faith was only 5. In 1967 she brought the referendum before the Holt government, and the change to the constitution was duly made after the referendum succeeded with a 91% majority.

Bandler’s purpose is to firstly respond to an invitation from ‘the indigenous people of the Illawarra’ to speak at the Convention, and secondly to raise issues of reconciliation that can inspire other like-minded people to act in support of reconciliation. Her themes throughout the speech are unity and justice, not only between Aboriginal people, but all ‘decent people’ who understand ‘the past, the terrible indignities’. Given the friendly reception that she received, Bandler’s speech is typified by informal expression, ellipsis and pronouns with ambiguous reference. The qualities lend the speech more the quality of a personal conversation that a formal speech transforming it into a part of time that can still be understood today.

Bandler quickly addresses her audience and the reason for the speech. She briefly refers to reconciliation then expands on the idea as she then alludes to three contextual factors; the slowing of the reconciliation process, the racism uttered in public and the stolen generation. Bandler uses emotive language to create the sense of an honest and heartfelt tone. Bandler uses the metaphor of a journey up a mountain to describe the progress of reform towards reconciliation;

“lived, breathed, struggled and climbed those ramparts of the rugged past, and when reaching the summit, have seen the ugliness when looking down – the disagreeable habits of those who close their eyes to the past.”

She describes the physical effort of achieving the goal of reconciliation with emotive language and refers to people against reconciliation as ‘ignorant’ and ‘blind’. The use of this technique gives the audience a visual understanding or the hardships and battles that have been undertaken to try and reconcile. Bandler uses this metaphor to push past the unwilling people and...
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