Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama: Back to School Event

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On the 8th of September 2009, President Barack Obama held a speech at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, in which he stressed the importance of education. The speech was broadcasted nationally and students were tuning in all across America, kindergarten through 12th grade. His speech makes it very clear that you simply cannot quit school and skip classes because “you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country”. President Obama would like to motivate all the students who were listening and that feeling of importance, which the sentence above is showing, might be the exact motivator for that to happen. This paper will analyse and comment on the speech and focus on the way President Obama addresses his audience. The composition of the speech is pretty much straightforward and not problematic nor complex. It is started by a short presentation followed by the message of the speech, well-documented with different arguments which support each part of the message. It ends with a short summary which sums it all up. This is a necessity given the fact that the audience is – as mentioned – students of all age. His language is very easy to understand and he doesn’t use neither imagery language nor hypotactic sentence structure where he referrers to something that isn’t mentioned. If this wasn’t the case, large parts of the audience might not understand the message the speech is trying to show, and the speech would be useless for them. Since the audience is a group of students – large amount in a small age - he tries to make himself likeable. This is seen in the anecdote about his own childhood and hard upbringing. Throughout the speech, President Obama takes great use of pathos as a persuasion mean which means that he appeals to both emotions and feelings: “And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up yourself.”, President Obama is using pathos as the...
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