Margaret Atwood and Noel Pearson

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“Free speech is not to be regulated. The audience that hissed yesterday may applaud today, even for the same performance.” –Michael Douglas Undoubtedly, a speaker moulds his/ her speech by the principles of purpose, and the audience who are to receive the given speech. More than this however- the responder’s context also shapes the way in which they interpret a speech. Michael Douglas- famed actor and movie director, contrasts an audience’s response in his quote, to emphasise that a responder’s context is vitally significant. The speeches “Faith, hope, reconciliation” and “An Australian history for us all,” written by Faith Bandler and Noel Pearson respectively- draw many similarities and contrasts with regards to issues raised, audience, intention and context. Both acclaimed speakers articulate their speeches through the use of various rhetoric devices, tones and stylistic techniques in order to appeal to their audience. Noel Pearson’s “An Australian History for us all” in late 1996, emphasises the significance of context, audience and purpose in determining a speech. Pearson’s speech challenges PM Howard’s reluctance to apologise for the past colonial mistreatment of Australia’s indigenous- at a University Club dinner. “I fear that I am in danger of indulging in agonising navel- gazing about who we are.” Pearson’s piercing sarcasm and antagonising tone satirises that those who seek reconciliation and who do not share the same “black armband view” of Aboriginal history as Howard, are publicly seen as culturally over- indulging and self-absorbed. The speaker further contrasts popular perceptions in Australian culture- where he describes those who believe “the victims should get over it,” and those who are “willing to alleviate your present condition.” Pearson effectively contrasts both groups in society to reflect the moral infidelities of the former group in the modern context. Pearson’s aggressive tone and wide vocabulary lulls his well-informed, educated...
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