Yes We Can

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Greg Oberschelp
CAS 137 1 PM
Dr. Freymiller

“Yes We Can”
The word rhetoric is widely thrown around by many different people in today’s age. Many people don’t understand the real context of the word, but that does not mean it is not any less common. Rhetoric is all around us, whether it is on television, in a paper, or, just in an advertisement. For most people, rhetoric is most widely seen during election season, especially during the Presidential election. Candidates rely heavily on rhetoric to get their ideas out there, showcase their list of credentials, and really paint themselves as the next President of the United States. For most campaigners, the most effective way to do this is through simple advertisements, basically flyers. Barrack Obama was exceptional at using these small advertisements to his advantage during the 2008 election. In taking a look at one of his 2008 “Yes We Can” ads, one can analyze the ethos, pathos, logos, and audience of the piece and its effectiveness in using rhetoric. In this political ad, Barrack Obama uses his patented pathos to further his campaign. For President Obama, pathos or emotional appeal has been his bread and butter for his political ads, and this poster is no different. The pathos conveyed here speaks to the entire nation, with the simple words “yes we can.” On the surface, “yes we can” seems to say that we, as the people of the United States, can elect Mr. Obama over his opposition. It goes much deeper then that though, as the message varies depending on the person reading it. For one, it speaks to the people that they can make history and elect the first African American president. This appeals to a section of Americans, (mainly African Americans) who can make the once pipedream of having one of their own as the commander-in-chief a true reality. To the average reader though, “Yes we can” also symbolizes the rough times America had been in and how the country was not run effectively as it...
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