Analysis of Pres. Obama's Speeches

Topics: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, President of the United States Pages: 5 (2174 words) Published: February 25, 2013
But…Christmas Was Just 11 Days Away…
Eleven days before Christmas a child is usually happy, energetic, excited, and anxious to see what kinds of pleasant gifts are underneath the tree from “Santa.” No one in Newtown, Connecticut had a clue that 20 of Sandy Hook Elementary School’s students and six adults wouldn’t be seeing that precious day. Unfortunately on this peaceful Friday, December 14th , 2012, Adam Lanza took their lives. His motive is unknown. As police arrived to the scene, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. This was the second-deadliest shooting in US history, after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. This shooting really hurt the nation and they wanted answers. President Barack Obama then delivered three speeches following this tragedy. The first speech was only a few hours after the incident. His second speech was in Newtown, Connecticut at a prayer vigil for the community. The last speech was held in the White House concerning gun control. In the speeches, he used rhetoric to appeal to his various audiences using purpose, audience, context, logos, ethos, and pathos. Before we start, let’s define these concepts. Purpose, audience, and context are a few of the major concepts in a rhetoric essay. They help analyze the paper, and the meaning behind it. They ask the questions, ‘Who, What, Why?’ Primarily, purpose signifies the goal, or goals, of an argumentative text, in this case, the three speeches President Barack Obama gave. The purpose tells the reason why the text is composed and what it hopes to accomplish by the end of the reading. The purpose can be varied but is often used to inform or persuade. For example, the purpose of a STOP sign is to warn you of incoming danger. Secondly, audience means just what it says – the audience of the paper, who you’re writing to. There are three different types of audiences, judicial, deliberative, and epideictic. A judicial audience looks to the past to see how things happened. On the other hand, a deliberative audience looks to the future to inspire action. Lastly, epideictic is a little different from the first two. Its primary focus is of the now, the present. This is non-oppositional, whereas judicial and deliberative were the opposite. As you see, there are many different audiences, but there should be one target audience. This will influence how the text is composed. Thirdly, context refers to the way something is written. Context is the situation or circumstances of either the reader or writer. This affects the way in which listeners respond to the texts as well as the way the writers construct the texts. Also, context refers to the technological environment in which a text is designed to be read by the intended audience. For example, is it a television commercial? A print magazine article? These are the things to take into consideration when reading, or listening to a speech. On the other hand, ethos, pathos, and logos are modes of persuasion used to convince audiences. Primarily, ethos means to convince an audience of the writer’s credibility or character. A writer would use ethos to show to his audience that he is a credible source and is worth listening to. You don’t want to listen to someone who doesn’t know anything about what he’s talking about, right? Ethos helps the writer eliminate that confusion. Secondly, pathos is the emotional appeal. It means to persuade an audience by appealing to their emotions. For example,” Feed the Hungry” uses a lot of pathos, ranging from the sickly children, to the sad music played in the background. They are trying to persuade you to send money for the children and families in need. Pathos is used to invoke sympathy from an audience. Thirdly, logos means to convince an audience by use of logic or reason. To use logos would be to cite facts and statistics to help persuade the audience to better know and understand what you’re talking about. Now that you know what purpose, audience, context, logos,...
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