A neo-aristotelian rhetorical criticism on president obamas conventional speech in 2004

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Management

Document 1

He spoke as the main speaker at the Democratic Congressional Convention in the year 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Barack Obama spoke in support of the Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry and the policies of the party at large. Currently, Barack Obama is a retired president of the united statutes, having served as the 44th president of the United States for two terms, on a Democratic Party ticket. He is remembered as the first black president of the USA. Known for his touching speeches, Obama stands out as one of the most eloquent expressive and persuasive orators of the 21st century. His oratory is usually charmingly written, accurately crafted, and melodramatically delivered. It records America’s flaws, fears, and shortcomings, whilst not forgetting to appreciate the accomplishments the country has made, in reference to the American dream (Henry, 2019).

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The 2004 conventional speech, entitled; ‘the audacity of hope’ was the begging of many such speeches that would follow. The speech would become a hallmark of national unity and stable manifesto of hope, which would later form the backbone of his 2008 presidential campaign (Henry, 2019). The neo-Aristotelian technique of criticism was developed by Herbert Wichelns by providing structure to the process of rhetorical criticism (Foss, 2017). The search model known as neo-Aristotelian was invented for the purpose of differentiating rhetoric criticism from literature and literary criticism and help to legitimize it by focusing on its conventional aspects (Foss, 2017). Basically, the neo-Aristotelian technique of rhetorical criticism is concerned with conducting a critic analysis of an artifact in four steps. The first step involves selecting the artifact to analyze.

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The second step analyzes the artifact, while the third step formulates a research question, the final step consolidating the content to come up with an essay (Foss, 2017). The second proof is artistic or internal proofs, which are those that the speaker did create on his own. The Artistic proofs then fall into three classifications; ethos, logos, and pathos (Stoner & Perkins, 2015). Ethos refers to the appeal to the speaker’s charisma or character. Logos is the logical argument and pathos is the emotional appeal (Stoner & Perkins, 2015). After analyzing the artifact with the application of the five canons the critic must answer the neo-Aristotelian research question, whether or not the speaker used the accessible means of persuading to bring out the envisioned reaction from their target audience.

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One example where he used pathos is when he was introducing candidate John Kerry. ‘’I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too” (Obama, 2004). In saying this, he uses this particular exert in comparison to Kerry’s Vietnam service. While doing that, he has entered in his own personal experiences of growing up biracial as well as inserting Kerry’s running mate, Edward’s working-class background.

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This contrast gave more importance to his statement and idea of a united nation and formed the basis of his political journey to become president as he went on to sell the notion of ‘yes we can’ in 2008 elections. Style Obama places repetition on the idea that America is a place full of possibilities and that it is important to keep hope and faith. the aspect of optimism can be identified many times in this particular keynote address. This is seen especially when he states that, “This is the true genius of America, faith” (Obama, 2004), and then again when he begins to speak about presidential candidate John Kerry, stating that Kerry understands the ideals of faith (Obama, 2004). He then speaks about faith again when talking about a soldier he met, stating that this solider had an amazing amount of faith in his country, and how fantastic that was.

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These hand gestures also represent him as dynamic and an individual with a lot of energy. Obama’s stance never wavers, and he stands proud and makes eye contact with the entire audience, moving his body so he may see everyone. The audience is very receptive to this speech showing this through applause and happy proclamations of voice. Memory: Obama states the keynote speech through complete memory and does not stumble once. Obama has complete control over his speech and the points he makes within the speech. This speech is what put him on the map and made a name for him. Many of his themes in this speech went on to be themes in his presidential campaign speeches. The neo-Aristotelian method of criticism was an effective model for this speech and helped in diving into what real persuasive writing looks like, how it is broken down.

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