Rhetorical analysis in Obama’s inaugural address Presiden’s inaugural address,besides aiming to elucidate his politics and position, mainly aims to insipre and educate the public. Obama’s inaugural address” Renewing American’s Promise” once again displayed his incomparable eloquence and fluency. Appropriate employment of rhetoric can express thoughts and emotions accurately and create the desired emotional impact. First,the use of parallelism. In rhetoric, parallelism means giving two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern.
Parallelism is a kind of expressive rhetorical devices, aiming to enhance language potential, improve the effect of expression. In his speech, Obama used this technique many times, so that the speech has a strong artistic appeal and endless charm. For example, “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. ” “At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents. “For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. ” More than a few examples of parallelism of language use has increased consistency, strengthened the imposing manner of the article, at the same time also strengthened the rhythm and metrical sense of language. Paralleled sentences are structurally balanced,semantically compact,and phonetically harmonious. Second,the use of repetition. Repetition is the simple repeating of a word, within a sentence or a poetical line, with no particular placement of the words, in order to provide emphasis.
This is such a common literary device that it is almost never even noted as a figure of speech.. “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. ”The repition of “they”not only aims to show the serious conditions confronted by the Americans,but also,at the same time,to show that government are confident of solving these problems. “We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.
We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do. ”These sentences are started by “We will…”,showing Obama’s feelings expressively and sincerely and assuring the public government’s resolution to relive them of mass misery. Third,the use of contrast.
A contrast effect is the enhancement or diminishment, relative to normal, of perception, cognition and related performance as a result of immediately previous or simultaneous exposure to a stimulus of lesser or greater value in the same dimension. “Know that your peolple will judge you on what you can build,not what you destroy. ” “Build”and “destroy” are in stark contrast. “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength,not a weakness. ” “strength”is contrast with “weakness”. Those contrastions clearly and accuratly illustrate his points. Last,the use of allusion.
An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to, or a representation of, people, places, events, literary work, myths, or works of art, either directly or by implication. “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. ” “the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. ”The use of bible words helps make speech to get the support and sympathy of the audience and a sense of charisma. In this specific cultural context,these religious words aid to enhance the authority and persuasion of the speech.