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The main purpose of the former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy of former president Ronald Reagan was to highlight the president’s good nature along with his good policy, and to console the people of America with dear words of respect. To make her point clear, she uses plethora of rhetorical appeals including, contrast metaphor and parallel structure. Through each of these rhetorical appeals, she establishes s deep respect and a high esteem for the late president. She puts the political actions of the former president into perspective by putting them side by side with the disarray of the world during his presidency.
Thatcher uses metaphors in her eulogy to create a truly reverent, idealized view of Reagan. She says, “He sought to mend America’s wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world.” This approach focuses on his idealist goals as opposed to his policies. By using the metaphor, she makes Reagan appear even more powerful, yet benevolent.
By focusing on the policies instead of the actions, she attempts to erase any negative image of Reagan from people’s minds. By comparing him to a sort of doctor by using the word “mend,” Thatcher expresses the idea of his importance to the country in a time of need. The use of the metaphor expresses the idea of Reagan instead of the man himself, and makes him seem almost more than human.
Thatcher also uses many examples of parallelism, which serve to continually build up the reputation of Ronald Reagan.
For example, in the twelfth paragraph, she repeats the phrase “when . . . they . . . “, which expresses the idea that Reagan could be trusted to act appropriately, no matter what situation he faced. The listing of the problems faced in the first clause of each sentence shows the difficulty of the time, and the listing of the reactions in the second clause of each sentence shows the reliability of the response. This depicts Regan as a firm and trusted leader, and serves to make the audience of the eulogy focus on their trust of the man they had lost.
Finally, Margaret Thatcher uses a great deal of contrast to reflect the strength of Reagan’s actions in the light of the difficult political atmosphere he faced during his time in office. In the fourth through sixth paragraphs, she repeats the idea of “others . . . He . . . .” For example, she says, “Others – saw only limits – to growth. He transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.” The contrast between the public pessimism and the actions taken by the president makes his optimistic approach seem even more impressive and admirable. If she had not included the contrast with popular opinion at the time, the actions of the president would have seemed more ordinary. She does this throughout the eulogy, for example contrasting the “darkness” of the time with Reagan’s “lightness” of spirit. She uses this contrast to contextualize Reagan’s actions in a reverent light.
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