Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick Tragedy

Pages: 3 (815 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Chappaquiddick Tragedy
Incidents that occur in a politician’s life are put under the spotlight and receive a greater deal of attention than ones in a civilian’s life. For this reason, celebrities and politicians usually step up on a public platform to explain their actions. One such event happened with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick Island after he left the scene of an accident and failed to report it to the authorities, which led to Mary Jo Kopechne’s death. To polish his tarnished image, Kennedy portrays Kopechne’s death as an accidental tragedy through bolstering, self-victimization and defeasibility.

Kennedy bolsters his character and reinforces his familial image through the use of diction. Kennedy opens his speech by talking about his reason for being at Chappaquiddick Island, to participate in an annual regatta with his “nephew, Joe Kennedy”. By talking about family traditions that he continues to participate in for a long time and mentioning his nephew, Kennedy paints himself as a family man. He portrays himself as an upstanding member of society who spends time with his family those he cares about. Kennedy alleges that Mary Jo Kopechne was treated in a caring and loving manner to make her feel that “she still had a home with the Kennedy family”. Kennedy further bolsters his image as a generous man by showing how he and his relatives welcomed Kopechne as a family member with compassionate thoughts. By bolstering his image as a family man, Kennedy establishes that he would not do anything wrong on purpose or out of malicious intent. He also instigates that he would never have a romantic relationship with Kopechne because of his familial ties with her and in fact causes the reader to feel shame for believing such “ugly speculation”. Because of the way Kennedy sets up his image, he forces the audience to be embarrassed for entertaining an idea that disgraces himself and his relationship with Kopechne. Through self-victimization, Kennedy creates pity and...
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