Monday, September 29, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

On Friday, January 20, 1961 President John F. Kennedy was sworn into office. During this time period Americans were looking for a light. They were looking for someone to help lead them out of their economic hardships, away from their fears of another possible tragic war, and to deal with their racial issues ever so prominent during this time period. Americans seemed to find any everlasting light and hope with this new president. Barely beating Nixon in the election with one of the closest elections to date, this forty-three year old man is still the youngest man to ever gain presidential office.

Kennedy starts his speech using diction to show his accomplishment in winning the presidential election. He not only shows this through his celebration of winning but also shows it through his celebration in belief of freedom gained through his election. In his inaugural address Kennedy hit on several key points of American’s concerns. He uses an anaphora of “to” in order to address all of the different people he is addressing his speech towards. He later uses an anaphora of “let both sides” to show a combination and unification of all of America and the world.

Midway through his speech he made a powerful statement saying “Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.” He uses this bold use of antithesis to express his multiply views on what he thinks his country can accomplish. Together, with the election of him as president, and the support of the citizens of his country, he believes America can only accomplish great things.

Towards the end of his speech Kennedy used a series of anaphora of words in two of his final statements to hype up his audience and warrant his main idea and plans during his presidency with them. He said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” Kennedy uses these statements to help inspire Americans to continue to support and contribute to their country in order to help make America the best is can be. He also tries inspiring and encouraging the world that uniting together can help them to achieve world freedom of men, unification of all countries, and world peace.

Link to text of speech:

Link to audio of speech:{98A70DC5-1114-498C-B637-D0C441B57E0B}&type=Audio


Betsy Woods said...

Good start. In some cases (diction and anaphora) you are not using the terms correctly in your writing.

Adam Murray said...

I liked this blog but watch how you used the word diction in the second paragraph.

DWatkins said...

ha, Like they said. Terms. Also, I dig. I think your quotes are good, but one is half of the paragraph it is in... Might be a bit long.