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The Neo Aristotelian Criticism English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1571 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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First I will begin with Invention. According to Leith Aristotle said that the basic job of the rhetorician is to discover the best available means of persuasion. That’s what is meant, in this context, by invention’. In invention, I would like to analyse using proof. The proof which makes speech persuasive norm is composed of 3 elements. These are logos, ethos and pathos. The first form is logos. This speech seems logically structured. She organises this speech chronologically. She promotes general family background as acceptable to the audiences (36-77) and then applies their story to her arguments. The First lady’s backstory draws the audience’s attention and prepares them to guess what her speech is about. By describing the values learnt from their family (76-88), she paves the way for the idea that the decisions Barrack has made during his term, are guided by the learnt values. In 90-95, her implication is that one’s character is not something one can change, or imitate, or gain from his or her advisers. Furthermore, she implicitly describes Presidential-level decisions which require weighty responsibility should be based on the character. In order to prove her arguments, she provides several examples what Barrack has done in his term (102-126). After that she implies that he who is the first African-American President has not changed and still possesses the values (134-167). In the closing part, she frames his emphasis on values and fairness concerning the election. She makes a plea for vote for him for his second term. The second form is ethos. There are some indications that she is trying to provide credibility to audiences. Michelle provides her backstory to let audiences identify similarities in their experience and belief. In 36-37, she emphasises that Obama’s rather unusual upbringing is really no different from hers. In 78-85, she tells about their values which learned from their family. In 83-85, she subtly addresses one of the points that her husband has tried in his period by keeping the focus on the people who’ve helped them and gives hints at right decisions that he has made. This builds his commitment and integrity for his time in the presidency. In 102-126, she mentions his 5 actions which audiences were able to trust during his term serving the U.S people. Especially, in 108-110, her statement is intended to remind audiences that her husband doesn’t always choose ‘the easy thing to do politically’. Again, she connects it to how he was raised. In 200-208, she makes an inclusive promise that Barrack will make a commitment for the U.S people. The last proof is pathos. Michelle delivers an elaborately detailed story of her early life with her husband. In her story, she mentions the grandfather who suffered with multiple sclerosis, and thus evokes sympathy and their daughters to give an individual touch. Her mission is to humanise her husband for people who think that his life is remote from the lives of ordinary Americans. She makes an emotional connection between herself and audiences that Barack himself has struggled before being President and shows him as a normal family man. She illuminates current the hard issues he faces, (89-95) and this gives recognition recent concerns of some audiences so as to show his desire to share the pain with the nation as a whole. Her speech shows the common touch, highlighting the financial crisis with major issues in the U.S. She calls out to the uniform people for linking emotion of pride and patriotism. She references ‘America’ several times to bring them together. Finally, the self-described ‘mom-in-chief’ (198) successfully gives effective emotion.

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The second part is arrangement of the speech. Keith and Lundberg (2008, 55) shows that ‘this strategy guides listeners through the speech and helps them identify and remember the most important points’. The organisational pattern is quite simplistic and the speech is arranged in the order of time, which delivers her goals that people might choose to support her husband. In Exordium (1-17), she starts a sequence of thanks and gives proper respect to those who she has met while serving their first lady in order to captures the audience’s attention. She does this to bring awareness to audiences of the issues in her speech. Then, in Narratio (21-88), she tells audiences about her and Barrack’s family backstory before moving to Washington. She also speaks briefly of first getting to know him. She once again emphasises that Barrack was brought up in similar family environment. In this paragraph, she highlights their shared mind to show they are normal and humble people just like their audiences. Moreover she focuses more on the bigger picture, which is the vision and values that guided him as President. With the story, she intends to lay the foundation for the idea that the decisions Barrack has made during his term are guided by the values learnt from his background. In Partitio (89-129), she previews her speech arguments. She shares the current critical tasks on Barrack’s desk and reassures the audiences that Barrack has made efforts to solve national issues such as Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, tax cuts, creating jobs, health reform and student aids. In Confirmatio (132 -173), she focuses on arguments that his position of President has not changed him. She delivers persuasive speech with regards to his responsibility, family care, and his hard-work and wants to share her love to Barrack with audiences. In 174- 196, Obama shows sympathy toward the hardships American people have endured and appreciated their sacrifices they’ve made and service for the country. In Peroratio (200-209), she emphasises his value once again and makes a final plea to the audiences for supporting Barrack. She delivers her assertion of what must be done, and uses traditional final blessing.

The final canon in this critique is style. Lawson-Tancred (2000, 215) refers to Aristotle’s view of style as follows ‘rhetoric is a practical skill and that the study of presentation is therefore required by the baseness of the audience.’ In general, she chooses not to pursue political argument on the competitive aspects of this campaign, but tries to focus on the positive and bright aspects with personal approach. I would analyse her speech with ‘Figures’ and ‘Tropes’. The distinctive figure in her speech is repetition. In repetition of words and phrases, 6 Anaphora are used in ‘I loved’, ‘we learned’, ‘the man’, ‘I see’, ‘I love’, and ‘if’. And also, 2 Antistrophe are identified in ‘story’. ‘so’. Furthermore, this speech has 2 repetition of sounds, one is alliteration ‘dignity and decency’, another is rhyme ‘honesty and integrity’. She uses these repetition styles with triple and extended-triple to make her points and arguments more persuasive and memorable. She uses jokes about their middle-class life in the past in order to humanise her husband and make him more appealing and accessible to audiences (32-25, 121). Additionally she uses Tropes: metonymy and metaphor. She uses the metonymy in ‘uniform’ representing people who serve in military, police, and etc. for the United Sates of America. Also she uses a metaphor with ‘America’ to link it to the concept of ‘America’, to address the nation with easy familiarity and to evoke good patriotism. In summary, her speech concentrates on reassurance and of her intention to make this speech uplifting to the audiences. Her style with a personal approach reaches out to the audiences not just the First lady addressing ask for vote for her husband.

In conclusion, Michelle’s speech is quite narrative, deliberative and persuasive norm and makes audiences to believe Barrack’s campaign and to reassure how to lead the nation of a better way in a respectable way. She combines personal stories with broader policies of what her husband believes in. This speech was well-written with a mixture of soft jokes to clearly accomplish the goal of reminding Barrack’s humanism and the reason why U.S people like him. I think she indicates well what the speech is about and easily understands how her issues relate to one another. The First lady’s speech connected their background to the values helps guide Mr. Obama as President. However, from the point of purpose of convention speech, which is usually about making a connection between the right man and the right moment, I don’t think it gives a powerful impact in the content, the theme, the vision except for one line ‘being President doesn’t change who you are’. One more thing I feel sense of loss is that this speech is too biographical about her husband who is running for the 2nd term, and she tries to utilise too many emotions to motivate people to vote him. I have to acknowledge that this analysis excludes the other rhetorical canons, memory and delivery. Therefore, there are some limitations in identifying whether this speech meets the needs of audiences because delivering a speech can be successful when all devices work in place.


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