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An Analysis of Kurt Fearnley’s Speech

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    As a young Australian, I am often reminded of issues regarding poverty, depression and illness, however, rarely am I confronted with issues regarding Australians with disabilities. Unfortunately, I am not alone. Paralytic gold medalist, Kurt Farley presents an uncomfortably confronting speech on Australia a day addressing the lack of care and attention that Australia as a society has shown to its disabled community.

    Farley uses rhetoric conventions to invoke responses, such as sympathy, within his Australian audience towards the disabled community of Australia who are Reginald within the health system and Australia’s socio-political culture in order to inspire action and change. Farley encourages his audience to feel sympathetic toward himself through the use of conventions such as personal experience. Farley recounts his experiences as a Paralytic athlete and the struggles he himself experience. He uses metaphor to describe the way he felt in previous sporting competitions.

    For example says that “London made us athletes look like superstar, not just gladiators in the eyes of our peers”. A gladiator in roman culture were usually laves and were at the bottom of the social and economic ‘ladder’ of their time. They were looked down upon and merely existed for the amusement for the upper classes. This powerful metaphoric description demonstrates to his audience that even as an internationally renowned athlete, he himself is still treated with contempt and is still treated as second class.

    He also mentions that with “three gold medals to his name, my future as a professional athlete is still far from secure” thus further confirming that he is not treated with the professional courtesy that he deserves because of his usability. Together, the use of these conventions invoke a sense of sympathy and shock within his audience towards himself and also forces the audience to reflect on how the culture of Australian society has allowed successful men such as Kurt Farley to still be treated as second class simply because he is disabled.

    Farley does this, not for the sake of focusing all audience sympathies and attention to himself, put uses it as a platform whereby he can effectively discuss the issues and problems faced by the disabled community as a whole. After encouraging audience humanity towards himself, he then extends that audience response to the disabled community of Australia through the use of conventions such as statistics. Farley states that of the “seventy million people around the world that would require the use of a wheel chair, yet less than 15% of those people have access to one. This statistic clearly out lines that wheelchairs are an area of need internationally, he then switches his attention to Australia specifically I. E. “If you have a disability in our nation, you are more likely to be unemployed… Living in poverty and more likely to eave a disability’. This quote also uses a three part list which brings a greater rhetorical weight and significance to his message. Farley also mentions that in “Australia, 45 percent of people with a disability live in, or near poverty, more than double the COED average of 22 percent”.

    These statistic not only intend to encourage sympathy to the disabled community, who are clearly in need, but also makes the audience feel guilty. Australia day is a day where Australians celebrate and take pride in their country, however, on this Australia day, Farley highlight Australia’s TTY to care tort those Witt This appeals to patriotism in a sense that it leaves the audience feeling that their country should be better and should be able to care for those in need.

    Farley brings his discussion home Farley intellectually convinces his audience through the use of various statistics (some of which are mentioned above) that there is an issue in regards to how society neglects the disabled, however, I believe his most powerful persuasive tools are his appeals to the audiences emotions. As mentioned above, Farley uses personal experience to cause the audience to feel sympathetic towards him, however, he also sees personal experience to establish and emotional connection with the audience.

    For example, he discuss how as a child he “spent large” of it out of his chair and that he “was crazy enough to crawl the Kodak track”. This anecdote emotionally appeals to the audience as they are presented with an image of and ambitious young child crawling along a hiking track. This emotionally engaging ‘cute’ image of a younger Farley also creates a sense of vulnerability that allows the audience to connect with Farley.

    This connection is incredible significant later on when Farley brings own his main point, I. E. “We’re marginal’s by our invisibility. Too easily, we are overlooked and ignored”. Farley uses inclusive language “we” to include himself as part of the disabled community. The audience can now easily link the disabled community to the image of the cute young Farley depicted before.

    As a result, the will become much more emotionally engage, sympathetic and out raged that a small innocent child repetitive of the disabled community could be shown such neglect. Farley uses the image of a disabled child later I. E. “Imagine you are looking into the yes of a child you love dearly’ to the same effect of emotionally gripping and engaging the audience in order that Australia as a community would “turn the fact around” so “that we (Australians) as a community would be better for it”.

    His final line unifies his audience I. E. Inclusive language “we” and brings home his purpose and his intended audience response, that Australia, as a national community, would indeed fix its “broken” system of neglecting he disabled and begin to take care of each other. I believe that Farley has effectively used rhetoric conventions to successful convince his Australian audience that we as an Australian community need to look after the disabled community and change the current situation of disregard and neglect.

    Farley uses rhetoric conventions to invoke specific emotions such as sympathy, outrage and guilt in order to fire them up about fixing the situation. He also uses the context of Australia day and national pride as tool for inspiring and motivating his audience to resolve the current situation. As an Australian, this is truly an eye opener to the aid and help that the disabled part of our community require, however, I believe that his great speech has one major downfall.

    That is, it doesn’t tell us specifically what we can do to help (not in this ‘edited’ version of the speech anyway). I myself am emotionally persuaded simply by reading this speech, but unfortunately, I have no idea how to help. Farley hasn’t given me any practical things I can do to help change. Nevertheless, his speech was definitely effectively in stirring up audience response and has definitely raised awareness to the lack of car Australia has shown to its disabled community.

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    An Analysis of Kurt Fearnley’s Speech. (2017, Aug 20). Retrieved from

    An Analysis of Kurt Fearnley’s Speech

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