JFK Inaugural Speech Analysis

John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural speech, wanted to make the country just a little bit stronger, a little bit more involved, and just a little more united just through his speech. Diving into a strong and involved country would make his job easier, and make the people see him as an effective leader. By changing the tempo of the speech, creating a rhythm, and unique sentence structure, he creates a feeling of nationalism for all of his listeners and readers. Although the use of dashes in a speech may have been used for applause from the audience, the use of dashes in the text create dramatic pauses and change the tempo of the speech, which engages the audience, and keeps things interesting. Anaphora is also used in Kennedy’s inaugural speech to create a repeative rhythm. In the speech there are two main points where there is very good anaphora, in paragraphs 6-10, each paragraph starts off with either “To those” or “To our”, creating unity between Kennedy and the people of the United States.

Along with the use of dashes and anaphora, the speech incorporates rhetorical questions. In paragraph 23, he asks, “Will you join me in that historic effort?” Saying this, he does not expect an answer from everyone, however, he does expect a reaction from them that shows him that his country is ready to unite as one, and work together. Asking these kinds of questions gets the audience more excited for his up and coming presidency. Doing this also gets the audience engaged and calls for action, using subtle hints that the country should be more united than it is at the time of this speech. Using theses three rhetorical devices, it effectively engaged the audience, and by switching up the tempo, creating a rhythm and incorporating unique sentence structure, it sent a clear message to the country that Kennedy was ready for action.

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