Everyone says that education is the most important thing. Every country wants to have the best schools to have the best society in the future and every Prime Minister or President of a country wants to make that happen. They talk about how important education is and they put a lot of money into making it the best. But to tell children and youngsters that they need to focus on their education can be difficult for them to understand.
Children would rather run out and play with each other than they would be straight-A students in an age of 6 or seven years old. There will be plenty of time to be serious when they grow older, but President Barack Obama seems to have other plans for “his” school children. So Obama prepared a speech for all school children and youngsters in America, a speech which he held in Virginia September 8, 2009. First of all Barack Obama is known for his excellent way of giving a speech.
He is always very formal and speaks very clearly; he almost doesn’t need his paper. But in this speech he is not as formal as he usually is, given the fact that it is not the same audience he is approaching. With this speech he is mainly talking to children and youngsters and he gets to be more relaxed. It is shown by the first sentence “Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing? ” He probably wouldn’t say that in a speech about the situation in North Korea for instance.
In his speech he repeats himself a lot. He uses the word maybe a lot on page 2 in the fourth paragraph. On page one in the last part he says “I’ve talked…” in every paragraph. And in the very last paragraph of the speech he repeats himself by saying “I expect.. ” and “you”. “I expect you to get serious I expect you to put your best effort I expect great thing from you. ” By repeating himself that much, he makes it clear what he wants to say and he captures his audience in another way.
And the main point is that everyone needs to work hard to get a good education and there are no excuses. “But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework that’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher that’s no excuse for not trying. ” Another thing to capture his audience is that he gives them some examples of what hard work can do.
He mentions three different young people coming from bad environments. Jazmin Perez from Texas ho didn’t speak English but is now on her way to become a doctor, Andoni Schultz from California who’s fought cancer and is now on his way to college and last Shantell Steve Chicago jumping from foster home to foster home but is graduating with honour from high school. By giving these different examples of youngsters from totally different states scattered around the US, the children and youngsters can relate to something and they can hear that it is possible to do something great in life even with a little challenge nowadays and also if it is a big challenge like cancer.
And then Obama tells his own story. A story about how he was raised by a single mother, didn’t had much money, didn’t go to school but was being homeschooled by his mom and then he ended up being the President of the United States and the most powerful man in the world. That story is so inspiring for children and he is the best living proof that everything can happen, that America is the country of opportunities.
Also Obama speaks of responsibility toward the country and he may seem to put a big pressure on the young people of America. If you don’t do that – if you quit school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. ” And “So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. ” It is mentioned several times trough the speech that the children cannot fail and let their country down and as a child in America I wouldn’t dare to fail, because of what might happen to the country… In the speech Obama uses different rhetorical devices. There are examples of ethos, pathos and logos, mostly pathos but the two others is also present.
An example of ethos is “Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education”. He speaks as the President of the US and has done that many times before and it makes him more reliable that he has held these kinds of speeches before. Another example is Obama using logos when he tells the young people that without an education there is no job in the future. “I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer or a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military?
You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers”. He makes it sound very logical and that there is no other choice so the children might as well stay in school and that is very clever of him. “Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future” and “The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going ”. These two quotes are examples of the use of pathos. It is about the most American thing we know about.
That America is the land of opportunity and it is a great nation of non quitters but of people who loves their country too much do anything but the best. Through the use of hidden rhetorical devices Barack Obama manages to make a convincing speech about education for a young audience. He addresses the audience with sympathy but also with clear purpose and he makes the gap between him, as a formal and powerful man, and the children and youngsters smaller and more reliable by letting them into his own personal story about his way to greatness. I’m sure Barack Obama has convinced them all to work harder in school.