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Obama’s speech – English A Essay
In this assignment I would like to analyse and comment on Barack Obama’s speech “Back To School Event”, a speech delivered at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia in 2009. My main focus through my essay will be the way President Barack Obama addresses the audience and the values he advocates. I will also talk about the composition in the speech.
At the end of my essay I will make a conclusion that will sum up my main points, which I have realized during my analysis.
President Barack Obama held a speech at Wakefield High School, in which he told the students the importance of education, not only for their own responsibility, but the importance for the whole nation. He kept talking about this responsibility in the speech, one of the things he said was, that he had already been giving a lot of speeches about the teachers’ responsibility to inspire the students, and pushing them to learn, and the parents’ responsibility for making sure they stay on track, and get their homework done and so on. Barack Obama tells the students that the government, their parents and teachers can’t fulfil their responsibility. “But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfil your responsibilities”. This speech was broadcasted nationally to every student in all ages, in order to get Barack Obama’s message out. His message is that, the students must not give up, because they can follow the American dream and if they don’t fight for their education they will not only quit on the themselves, they will also be quitting on their whole country. Which is sure to set every thought in the students minds on fire, because it is a very big pressure to lie on them, to think that the entire country is depending on every individual and their education. I think that is the reaction that Barack Obama is hoping for all the students who were listening to his speech: the feeling of importance will motivate them to work hard or even harder for a better tomorrow, and a good education.
The composition of the speech is very complex with a simple structure. Barack Obama opens the speech with “Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today?” followed by an introduction, and then he lay his focus on his message of his speech supported by arguments and ends with a short summary of everything that has been said so far. He makes it clear to the audience that it is very important, and it is their responsibility to educate and fight for their future. He builds up an attention, and at the end he drops the bomb by setting all the responsibility on the students, and if they don’t succeed the whole country will be let down. President Obama advocates the future of the country; he values the freedom, and make the American Dream possible for the students.
The language is very colloquial, and he speaks to the American students, as if they’re equal all of them. An example of that could be “Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is.
In the speech there is a greatly use of ethos. President Obama arrives, as this big and powerful authority and talks to the students like they where just like him or had every change to end up the same way, which I think was a good way to catch the attention in the students. Obama chooses to address the students directly by giving every grade a sense of awareness and importance. “And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school (…) I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now”.
Barack Obama starts telling his own story, and how he got to the stage of success, and how he is a good example of a person who has fought through his education and now he had become a president – he makes it possible to become everything somehow, and of course he makes the American Dream possible. “No one writes your destiny”. He tells the story of how he did not want to get up in in the early morning to be homeschooled by his mother, which had been left by Barack Obama’s dad when he were only 1 years old. He clarifies that he is no superhuman, and makes it clear that the students and others don’t have to be super humans or come from a rich and clever family to become something big and powerful, like the mighty president. This is not only a use of ethos, but also pathos and logos. He uses pathos by telling about his bad circumstances as a child, and that he did some thinks he was not proud of. It creates some thoughts in the student’s mind, they might feel sorry for him and then they feel some kind of “happiness” because he made it anyway, or another example could be when The President talks about the children with special needs and how they made it. “I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz (…), who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took hum much longer (…) to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall”. The use of logos must be the fact that Barack Obama made it, and he did fight – and then he became one of the most powerful men in the world. He has got some rational arguments.
At the end I will conclude that the president Barack Obama has some clever methods to get the interest from his audience, but the clever student will also notice that he put it all in a black and white perspective and just because he is an example of the perfect American dream and a pattern breaker, not every student will be so successful no matter how hard they fight, it is also matter of so many other things. But despite the fact that his speech has a very typical American attitude, there is one and very important truth, the fact that knowledge is our strongest trait, and we shall use it to get as far as possible with our lives.
Godt indhold. Fint du starter med en indledning og slutter med en konklusion, hvor du også kommer med en fornuftig kommentar til talen. Den kommentar måtte du godt have uddybet lidt.
Det er godt du bruger begreberne etos, logos og patos. Husk at det altid skal være tydeligt for din læser, hvorfor du mener dette eller hint er udtryk for f.eks. etos.
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