Style of John F Kennedy’s Inaugural Speech
“The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy is considered one of the greatest speeches in twentieth-century American public address. Communication scholars have ranked the speech second in a list of the hundred "top speeches" of the twentieth century based on its impact and artistry” (1). This speech, spoken by a young president to the nation after a close and divisive election, is one of the most ‘analyzed’ speeches of all time. When analyzing a prose style, one most look at many things. The kind of diction used throughout the speech needs to be looked over. Also, the length, kind and variety of sentences including figures or speech throughout should be analyzed. Lastly, one must address paragraphing when analyzing the style of a speech. There are many features of style about which we might never be able to secure general agreement, but if there is to be a system for analyzing prose style we must start with those features that are obvious.
John F. Kennedy had to consider many different types of diction, or the choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing, when he was preparing his speech to America. One type of diction Kennedy included in his inaugural address is interpersonal diction. By using this type of diction, he was able to better connect with his audience and present himself as fellow and equal American rather than the president of the nation. He uses phrases such as “fellow American” and “fellow citizen of the world”. He also starts off new topics in his speech with inclusive pronouns like “we” and “us”. In order to relate the Christian majority to America, Kennedy makes references to the “Almighty God.” Including God in both the introduction and conclusion heightens his point of God’s importance in his presidency. Kennedy also utilizes direct diction to connect with the audience and leave them with a choice to make. The choices in Kennedy’s speech are to...
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