Barack Obama Critical Commentary

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On the 7th of November 2012 Barack Obama delivered his presidential victory speech in his hometown of Chicago. This is a critical commentary of that speech. Barack’s aim apart from thanking voters was to deliver the message that through working together, they could drive America forward. The mood was more subdued than the jubilant one of 2008 which carried a similar message of unity. The uplifting tone present four years earlier whilst not replaced, was just a little more sombre. It could be argued that this was more out of respect to the mood of the country, gripped by recession and still coming to terms with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The speech makes extensive use of rhetorical devices in its figurative language. During his early sentences there are three examples of alliteration in ‘determine its own destiny’, ‘depths of despair’ and ‘heights of hope’. His use of which is primarily to grab the audience’s attention but also to help set the tone for the rest of the speech. Personification was present throughout the speech when he continuously referred to America as ‘family’ and ‘her’. Further evidence of this can also be found in the sentence ‘We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America’. The rationale behind this humanisation was possibly to add a sense of drama but more importantly to help the audience relate better to his underlying message of unity. It should also be noted that the rule of three is also evident in that passage. Another example of a rhetorical device being used begins in the passage that starts ‘This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich ’. The passage appears to contradict itself three times in the first three sentences, but quickly goes on to clarify and is a good example of using a paradox. The reasoning behind this was to build up to a bigger picture of what he sees as the things that make ‘America great’. When analysing this speech we must consider...
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