Barrack Obama’s inaugural speech was in many ways similar to his predecessors, cleverly written, thoroughly rehearsed and immaculately delivered. However in many ways it was different, different in the colour of Presidents skin, different in the time the oath was taken “amidst gathering clouds and raging storms”, different in the state of Americas economy.
America wanted change and barrack Obama was that change. His inaugural speech was the first time he didn’t need to win votes or fight his campaign, instead he needed to earn the respect of his people, and he did it masterfully. Obamas main aim at the start of the speech is to make a connection with the audience and gain their support. He does this by moving from singular “I stand here today” to the plural “We the people” which engages the audience to make them feel involved and significant with the use of personal pronouns.
The following sentences continue towards this goal with the use of anaphora “they are” “they are” “they will be” “they will not be” he does this to instil the audiences confidence in Obama and show that he is in control of the situation by repeating the authoritative phrases. This also incorporates antithetic parallelism “they will not be” “they will be” this is used to give the impression Obama is overcoming a problem by first using the negative not implying an issue and then the positive “will be” showing it is overcome, furthering the audiences assurance in Obama. Addressing the audience as a nation is used to rouse feelings of loyalty and patriotism extending Obamas connection with the audience by establishing the common feeling of pride in their country, and consequently their president.
Once Obama has established a bond and created a sense of community amongst the audience he begins the transition from past tense to future which is cleverly done with the use of repetition “so it has been. So it must be” which prepares the audience for hard hitting issues which Obama raises unambiguously “our nation is at war” “homes have been lost” “our schools fail too many”, the open manner Obama presents these issues in make the audience feel trusted and the use of the personal pronoun “our” makes the audience feel responsible and powerful in solving these predominant problems.
When addressing these issues Obama use emotive and language and imagery such as “violence and hatred” and “greed and irresponsibility” which adds emotion and shows the audience that Obama is passionate about solving the problems he faces which adds impact and conviction to the line “know this America they will be met” which regains the trust and support of the audience by promising that he will solve these problems. Obama adds emphasis and effects on messages by drawing a contrast “rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace” compared to “gathering clouds and raging storms” by talking about the opposite in a positive manner “raising tides of prosperity” it makes the later, negative phrase “raging storms” even more powerful and impactful. Throughout Obamas speech he tries to appeal to all members of Americas “patchwork heritage” He tries to bond the all members of the country by addressing “Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus” and bravely “non-believers” by addressing them all as a one nation.
Courtney from Study Moose
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