Modules Speeches Essay

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‘Speeches are consciously designed to present particular ideas or values which seep into the audience’s consciousness and stay there’.

Discuss the viewpoint in relation to the speakers’ exploration of humanitarian issues.

The power of a dynamic and memorable speech lies both in the messages conveyed as well as the craftsmanship, which is consciously designed to present particular ideas and values. When the two combine to create a speech of power and resonance, as well as achieving textual integrity, the impacts are long felt within the audience’s consciousness, and are able to transcend time, echoing context and values.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speech, ‘Funeral Service for an Unknown Australian Soldier’, Margaret Atwood’s ‘Spotty Handed Villainesses’ and Faith Bandler’s ‘Faith, Hope and Reconciliation’ each present particular ideas and values through their exploration of humanitarian issues. Consequently, these values and ideas each seep into the audience’s consciousness and develop a successful and memorable speech.

Paul Keating’s transcendental eulogy addressed to the nation on the occasion of the historical 75th anniversary of Armistice Day in 1993 still echoes the notion of an Unknown Soldier today. Keating’s use of rhythmic flow and the powerful repetition of the recurring motif “we do not know” throughout the simple, yet effective speech, makes this a speech not to be forgotten. Harsh images of leather, metal and battlefield carnage are created through the repetition of ‘military’, which juxtapose universal feelings of joy and grief, with the sadness and regret that no one will ever truly know the identity of the Unknown Soldier. Through the anonymity of the Unknown Soldier, Keating identifies all soldiers and civilians lost during or because of the war. The use of objective, factual war statistics impresses upon the audience the monumental loss that this Unknown Soldier represented: “One of the 45,000 Australians who...
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