Social and Personal Values in Speeches

Speeches are consciously designed to present particular ideas or values which seep into the audience’s consciousness and stay there’. The power of a dynamic and memorable speech lies both in the messages conveyed as well as the craftsmanship, which is consciously designed to present particular ideas and values. When the two combine to create a speech of power and resonance, as well as achieving textual integrity, the impacts are long felt within the audience’s consciousness, and are able to transcend time, echoing context and values.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speech, ‘Funeral Service for an Unknown Australian Soldier’, Margaret Atwood’s ‘Spotty Handed Villainesses’ and Faith Bandler’s ‘Faith, Hope and Reconciliation’ each present particular ideas and values through their exploration of humanitarian issues. Consequently, these values and ideas each seep into the audience’s consciousness and develop a successful and memorable speech. Paul Keating’s transcendental eulogy addressed to the nation on the occasion of the historical 75th anniversary of Armistice Day in 1993 still echoes the notion of an Unknown Soldier today.

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Keating’s use of rhythmic flow and the powerful repetition of the recurring motif “we do not know” throughout the simple, yet effective speech, makes this a speech not to be forgotten. Harsh images of leather, metal and battlefield carnage are created through the repetition of ‘military’, which juxtapose universal feelings of joy and grief, with the sadness and regret that no one will ever truly know the identity of the Unknown Soldier. Through the anonymity of the Unknown Soldier, Keating identifies all soldiers and civilians lost during or because of the war.

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The use of objective, factual war statistics impresses upon the audience the monumental loss that this Unknown Soldier represented: “One of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front…” Contrastingly, emotional and subjective lexicon is used throughout Keating’s eulogy, as the audience is unified by the employment of inclusive pronouns such as “all of us”, “our” and “we”, emphasizing the idea that the audience is a part of the nation.

Battlefield carnage is depicted through the use of the rhetoric “the great war was a mad, brutal, awful struggle”, as well as incremental adjectives emphasizing the context and tone of the speech. Keating adapts a blend of both informal and formal terminology in order to sustain a broad audience and create a culturally inclusive atmosphere, which additionally increases the transcendental resonance throughout a larger audience, as made evident within the line “He is all of them.

And he is one of us. ” Through the inclusive statement “there is faith enough for all of us”, links are drawn between the “men and women”, as well as the understanding of the past to those of both a modern and future audience, and the unification of modern Australians to the concept of war, sacrifice and serving of one’s country in which the Unknown Soldier impresses.

Through the sincerity portrayed within the ideas and values, and the use of statistics and rhetoric devices, Keating creates an everlasting, patriotic impression as well as his exploration of humanitarian issues and Australian mate ship throughout the speech ‘Funeral Service for an Unknown Australian Soldier’, which contributes to the resonance held within the audience’s consciousness.

Drawing connections from ‘Funeral Service for an Unknown Australian Soldier’, Faith Bandler shares Keating’s emotional sincerity, as evident within her speech “Faith, Hope and Reconciliation”, addressed to a broad audience at the Talkin’ Up Reconciliation Convention within 1999. The speech centres upon the persisting flaws that prevent the Aboriginal people and white Australian nation from reconciling, and ultimately focuses on advancing towards the reconciliation of Aboriginal and white Australians.

Aboriginal activist Faith Bandler engages her audience through a variety of techniques, such as her use of inclusive and personal pronouns, such as “I”, “we”, and “us”, made evident throughout the speech. She focuses fundamentally upon the values and ideas of “Faith, Hope and Reconciliation” throughout the speech, starting with her title, which draws allusions to both a pun played upon her name and to the biblical religious connotation of “faith, hope and charity”.

Through this allusion, Bandler emphasizes the importance of reconciliation, as well as uniting the audience under a religious context. Bandler effectively creates longevity within her speech by drawing upon her own personal experiences, as shown in the line “My learning was rather hard and slow”, and calls for reconciliation through first person, as well as effectively establishing inclusivity and making her plea distinctively powerful.

Through the use of emotive language such as “ugliness” and “terrible indignities”, and repetition throughout the speech, Bandler further reinforces her own personal connection to the speech, as evident within the line “a little sadness…terrible utterances…terrible tragedy” alluding to her own reconciliation experiences, which further creates resonance within her audience. Bandler reinforces the hardships faced by the Aboriginal Australians during the White settlement through the metaphor “those ramparts of the rugged past”, as well as the accumulation and the use of verbs throughout the speech.

Through the use of a multitude of techniques, Faith Bandler’s effectively simple speech transcends time and civilization barriers by creating resonance within her audience through her powerful plea of reconciliation and her will to change Australia. Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood’s “Spotty Handed Villainesses” is a speech drenched in the language, ideas and values of the intelligentsia. Addressed in 1994, the speech is rich with high order language, and comprises a multitude of literary allusions as well as philosophical and feminist concepts, in order to appeal to her audience of academic women.

Atwood’s speech focuses fundamentally on the core thematic concern based on the principle that writers and readers must not be constrained by the limitations imposed by the ideology of women in narrative form as mothers and nurturers. Emphasizing this, Atwood strays from the ideal female figure within literature and alludes to the murderesses displayed, particularly the complex Lady Macbeth, to whom the title refers.

The opening of the speech skillfully engages the audience through Atwood’s humorous use of children’s nursery rhyme, which supports the ideas and purposes presented within the speech, as well as disarming and amusing the audience. Not all women are good. Atwood further creates satirical intrigue through a reference to her title, alluding to the idea that the speech may “refer to age spots”, or “that once-forbidden but now red-hot topic, The Menopause”. Spotty Handed Villainesses” ultimately maintains relevance throughout time through allusions to both high and lowbrow literature.

Throughout the speech, Atwood challenges authors and readers to not be limited by the ideological approach of female characters. She describes restricting ideologies as ‘intolerable’ and ‘restricted’, her speech at this point both intellectual and colloquial, carefully constructing a resonance within the audience’s consciousness.

Through the craftsmanship and design of a speech, as well as the exploration of humanitarian issues, particular ideas and values are presented which seep into the audience’s consciousness and stay there, as displayed through the study of Paul Keating’s speech “Funeral Service for an Unknown Australian Soldier”, Margaret Atwood’s “Spotty Handed Villainesses” and Faith Bandler’s “Faith, Hope and Reconciliation”.

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Social and Personal Values in Speeches. (2018, Jul 19). Retrieved from

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