Rhetorical Analysis of Obama’s Speech Essay

February 10, 2022 by Essay Writer

The political world is built on numerous speeches, ideas, and suggestions. American history is full of amazing speeches from people who wanted to achieve particular purposes, who failed to achieve something important, and who demonstrated unbelievable power and faith in a safe future. One of the speeches that enriched American history was delivered on March 18, 2008.

The author of the speech was then-Senator Barack Obama, who is now the President of the United States of America. Obama’s speech was a response to the spike demonstrated by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright concerning the racial aspect of American life.

In his speech, Barack Obama makes a magnificent attempt to address the issues of racial dishonesty and white privilege that is still observed in America, to describe the “black anger” that is inherent to the vast majority of American citizens, and to evaluate how controversial Wright’s position actually is; the success of the speech is one of the most powerful proofs that Obama raises the questions which bother the country and prevent nations’ appropriate development.

Barack Obama’s speech is a unique collection of ideas which attract America’s attention from the very first lines. To demonstrate how serious his intentions are, Obama begins his speech with the bright message that “we the people… to form a perfect union” (Obama, 2008, paragraph 1).

With the help of this phrase, Obama focuses on several significant aspects: he deserves the right to be a member of the chosen community; he believes that America is a powerful and almost perfect country; he does not find it necessary to divide himself from the rest of society, and he has something to say and to do to improve the situation and make living conditions better.

One of the most evident components of his speech is a retrospective review of the past and his roots. It is very important to develop a strong body the context of which is properly understood by young people who want to consider their present affairs and by mature people who prefer to appreciate their past to improve future.

“I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same, and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren” (Obama, 2008, paragraph 6).

In these lines, he tries to explain how sensitive he can be to people and how confident he should become to attract their attention. Each word is properly chosen, each adjective and adverb supports the necessary verb, and even punctuation attracts attention.

The frequently discussed issue in the speech is connected to the idea of racial dishonesty under which the American society should live. He admits the truth about “how hungry the American people were for this message of unity” (Obama, 2008, paragraph 10). The choice of vocabulary is a captivating aspect to focus on: Obama makes uses of human instincts and the feeling of hunger. Food is an integral part of this life, and people may feel the hunger in case they lack food.

However, in the speech, the nation is a hunger for unity. It proves that Obama is brave enough to underline America’s weakness but still to explain how it is possible to cope with this hunger. It is not the time to define who is “too black” or “not black enough” (Obama, 2008, paragraph 11); but it is time to define what is crucial in this life and what can help society to live better lives.

Obama also introduces the idea of black anger: “it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races” (Obama, 2008, paragraph 34).

He is brave enough to admit the existence of the anger; and what is more important, he is not afraid to enumerate the roots of the anger as well as spread discontents concerning the conditions people live under. There is no need to mind human and national fears, but it is necessary to concentrate on the way of how people need to live.

One of the most significant reasons why Obama introduces the speech was the controversial ideas offered by his former pastor, the Reverend Wright. The courage of the former Senator is evident when he decides to admit his connection to a person who upsets the balance of American unity.

“Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.” (Obama, 2008, paragraph 14).

There is no need to hide and be ashamed of something. It is much more important to admit the truth, define the mistakes, and choose the way that helps to improve the situation.

Barak Obama’s speech was so bright and strong that, within a short period, it was available through all media sources like the Internet or some famous magazines. The main idea of the speech is to explain to people how strong the American nation should be to overcome any possible difficulty and challenge. Within this speech, Obama underlines the issues which worry a lot of people and helps to define the main ideology of this life: to respect each member of society.

Works Cited

Obama, Barak. “A More Perfect Union.” National Constitution Center. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008.

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