Friday, January 25, 2013

Nirali and Aashna Breaking Down Obama's Second Inauguration Speech


BTW: Nirali=Nirali and me=Aashna  
Nirali:  AASHNAAAAA
 Sent at 9:46 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  heyy
 me:  hey
ready??
 Nirali:  blegh i guess
 Sent at 9:48 PM on Friday
 me:  okay so from the beginning, Obama likes to convey a sense of nationalism by talking about history and the constitution
for example, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
 Nirali:  definitely and you can totally see that he uses "we" to bring that feeling of togetherness
i
i'm sure that if they counted "we" on the word cloud, it would probably be as big as "people"
 me:  haha yeah.
he really wants to evoke a sense of unity
 Nirali:  he does refer to the constitution directly from his parallelism of "we the people"
 Sent at 9:52 PM on Friday
 me:  it helps him build up his point of saying that hey we have been through so much and the reason we succeeded was because we were together
 Nirali:  true, for example: "Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune."
 Sent at 9:54 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  Obama's known for using parallelism very frequently, but I think in this case the majority of that was focused on instilling that we are one nation
 Sent at 9:55 PM on Friday
 me:  and that the success of our future depends on us staying as one nation. in some ways,
 Sent at 9:57 PM on Friday
 me:  it really makes you want to just believe him and trust that he will lead his country correctly
which is an example of pathos
 Sent at 9:58 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  you know, it's really interesting that you used the words "trust and believe" because the theme is "Faith in America's Future"
 me:  haha well then he is very good at getting his point across even from the beginning
throughout his whole speech, i think he is trying to get us to trust him. i mean considering the fact that the reason he was re-elected was because of the electoral votes- not the popularity votes
 Sent at 10:01 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  well i don't think the point is to trust him, but more like recognizing the equality in our nation
i mean
he directly references the Declaration of Independence in:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
i'm looking over the whole transcript right now
and the amount of times he says "we" is ludricous
even here: "My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together."
 me:  his overuse of we acts as a great rhetorical device (paralellism). 
 Nirali:  using the words "my fellow Americans" just adds to his intense focus on community
 me:  again evoking a sense of faith in our nation and future.
 Nirali:  i think what's really important that he's identifying is the difference between "then" and "now"
especially here: "For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn."
i think he's definitely stressing on remembering the past and working toward the future
 me:  throughout his speech, "past" is used negatively and "now" is used positively. like the quote that you just pasted, he talks about the past as though our lives were flushed down the toilet back then and "now" we are going to change that all and everything is going to be better. i guess that is just another way for him to incorporate pathos into his speech
 Nirali:  definitely
Obama's known for incorporating pathos in his speeches
he speaks eloquently and also reaches climaxes in his speeches to emphasis his points
 me:  he is a really great public speaker but the way i saw it was that his whole speech incorporated a lot of pathos (such as when he talks about the girl born into poverty but has big dreams and hopes)
 Nirali:  now that i look at it more closely and take time to put it all together instead of watching it, i think there are really good, key points that he's planning to focus on
but what kind of happily surprised me was this:
"our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts"
 me:  feminism
 Nirali:  i mean, i don't mean to be all OH WOMEN ARE AWESOME but seriously, that was awesome
 me:  yeah it was him basically pointing out that women should also be treated equal
which i totally respect him for that
 Nirali:  and between his first inaugural address and his second?
"A New Birth of Freedom" and "Faith in America's Future"
 me:  well because of the evolution of time from when his first speech was to his second speech, the concerns of his speeches are different. the first one focused on the war and global affairs while this one is mostly concentrated on fortifying the nation 
 Nirali:  yeah but i think they both still really stressed on national unity
 me:  true
 Nirali:  you're totally right though, the first inaugural address was focused on America's challenges in itself and globally
 me:  its a reoccurring theme- unity i mean
but i feel that now he realizes that his goal should be to unify the American nation rather than on taking part in global affairs like wars. 
 Sent at 10:23 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  definitely, the three key things he really focuses on are strengthening, unifying, and moving forward
and we can definitely see the correlation between the theme of the future in his second inaugural address and his reelection campaign them "Forward"
 Sent at 10:25 PM on Friday
 me:  i think now being elected for the second time, he has shown signs of being more experienced and knowledgeable and understanding what the position of the president really is. he wants to unify America and the citizens. and he expresses that thoroughly. his speech in some ways mimics the MLK Jr. speech such that he doesn't say "I have a dream..." but he addresses that his dream is equality and unity for the future of America.
in replace of "i have a dream.." he says "We, the people,"
 Sent at 10:30 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  definitely, there are a lot of easily seen historical allusions such as "We, the people" from the Constitution, a couple phrases from the Declaration of Independence, and intense parallelism like MLK Jr.
OOH can we talk about word clouds
i really like them
 me:  haha they are indubitably (i had to) cool looking and informational :)
 Nirali:  yeah they give you the gist, but in a colorful way! :D
well i think the fact that "must" is the largest word definitely shows how much force he's using to convey his ideas
 me:  if you compare the two word clouds, you can see that he is promoting change for the nation
this time around
 Sent at 10:34 PM on Friday
 me:  and you are right, "must" is such a strong word that it shows that he is looking at a better, brighter future of America
 Nirali:  definitely and he's usually using "must" after "we", making that responsibility of change one that the whole nation needs to recognize
that was a little wordy but you get my point
 me:  haha point understood. since your world cloud was similar to the real one, did you already assume what his speech would envelope before??
why did you choose the words you did??
 Sent at 10:37 PM on Friday
 Nirali:  not really, we just kind of thought generally + recent things during his last term + stuff he should want to point out like the progress we've made, and that it was a collective effort
 Sent at 10:38 PM on Friday
 me:  because when me and Mike were making it, we used the old transcript and tried to point out the key words. i guess we subconsciously assumed that the second inaugural speech would be no different from the first.
but i can assure you that I felt there were major differences
 Sent at 10:40 PM on Friday
 me:  for one thing, i think his speech improved and more rhetorical devices were used
 Nirali:  there definitely were major differences, his first inaugural address felt focused on what more Americans can do for their country, his second seemed more of a push for our whole nation to recognize their responsibilities
 me:  but in all, since most people listen to the speech once, he made a really strong first impression about what he hopes to happen/do in his second term. 
 

Akhil's Thoughts on President Obama's Second Inaugural Address

This Monday, millions around the country gathered to watch President Barack Hussein Obama give his second inaugural address. Listening to Obama give a speech is always a thought-provoking experience as he is, in my opinion, one of the best orators in American history. Personally, of speeches I have heard by U.S. presidents, my favorites have come from Bill Clinton, but I must say that listening to President Obama speak is something I consider to be a privilege. Over the past four years or so, we have grown accustomed to a certain style of speaking from Obama. Long pauses. Rhetorical questions. Constant emphasis on the importance of patience as we try to move our country in a positive direction. This speech, however, deviated from a traditional "Obama speech."

In fact, Jon Favreau, the director of speechwriting for the White House, said it was one of the hardest speeches he has written, and rightfully so. Having to write a speech (the second of its kind) for one of the greatest orators in American history and at arguably the most important stages of Obama's presidency? Sound pretty tough to me. Favreau looked at previous second inaugural addresses and found that they all had themes associated with them. For Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush, their second inaugural speeches were an attempt to set the tone for the next four years, to show the people what direction the nation was moving in. Similarly, Obama had a theme for his speech, a form of rhetoric in itself, for subconsciously we all got the same message out of his speech: we must do something now.

In class we were tasked with predicting the words that Obama would use in this speech. A mistake that Shawn (my partner) and I made was that we chose our top words based on 49 pages worth of transcripts from Obama's previous speeches. The words we predicted were the following: America, people, and country. These are three common words that would be spoken by a president, but this was no common speech, especially for Obama. During his first inaugural address, a central theme was a call for restoring responsibility. After having served for four years, Obama now understands that the only way that he and the rest of this country can succeed is that each and every one of us hold ourselves accountable.  He seemed to be stressing that we need to come together and make sure that we make are at our best. He emphasized words like must, people, and time, which were not what we predicted, but definitely noteworthy.

 There is no doubt that all of this was tailored to the situation our country is in, Obama wanted to drive the point home that the only way we can move our country in the right direction is by working together. He said, "This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together."

With all that has gone on with disagreements in Congress, Obama understands that the best way to capitalize on the opportunities that await us in the next four years is to collaborate. There is no time for petty arguments, we  must work together. Obama stressed this point as much as humanly possible, starting three paragraphs in a row with "together" and SEVEN consecutive paragraphs with "we." If that doesn't scream parallelism and repetition, I don't know what does. I think Obama did a great job in stating how we can (and should) play a role in America's future rather simply saying that we should.

Did anyone catch the similarity between a lot of what President Obama was saying and "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King Jr.?

"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm." - President Barrack Hussein Obama

"From the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama was appealing to our pathos to evoke the passion that this country has for one of its greatest Civil Rights Activists. Since nearly every student in the American school system is educated about Martin Luther King Jr. from a young age, they have almost certainly have heard this speech and understand its significance, further capturing the emotional appeal of a line like this. Additionally, our country has greatly rallied each other after the tragedy in Newtown, and this line was crafted to increase emotional connection to the speech, an effective use of pathos. This was a speech full of patriotism, which despite all of our differences, is one thing that we can all come together on.


Despite this not being a traditional Obama speech, it definitely had traditional "Obama climax" toward the end. "You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals." Parallelism, climax, it was all there and it all had that "Obama effect" where you heard his voice gradually increase in strength, a signature.

And then there was a twist. As a master rhetorician, instead of the traditional, God bless you and God bless these United States of America, President Obama said "Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America." Subtle, but perhaps this was an attempt to show that the next four years will be different then the previous four. Only time will tell.






Casey and Adrian: Obama Chat

ccamarco: Obama's speech used a lot of rhetorical devices.
ascherer: I know he is really good at speaking with rhetoric
especially parallelism
ccamarco: his ability to use the climax technique is insane!
he completely controls the crowd
ascherer: haha exactly thats why everyone loves to come out and see him speak
ccamarco: That explains the large crowd at a second inauguration. that is unheard of.
ascherer: i know it was huge and i found it interesting how similar his speaking was to that of MLK jr especially how often he uses parallelism
“Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers. Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.”
ccamarco: that is exactly what i was going to say
he uses that to draw the crowd in
ascherer: I love parallelism
ccamarco: and it works very well
ascherer: Its easy to listen to
it is a good example of ethos
ccamarco: besides just the repetition, he also uses the word "we" in each of those lines to draw a connection between him and the people
which is a great example of ethos.
ascherer: exactly it appeals to the people
ccamarco: he uses the crowds emotional attachment brought about by the word "we" to sway their opinion.
ascherer: which is pathos
yeah like when he says "we" it makes me feel like hes a regular guy
and I think that is what he was going for in the speech
ccamarco: and that he and i are very similar and worked toward this together.
just very well put together
ascherer: yeah and that ties into the whole faith in America's future theme
Like we can do it together to improve
ccamarco: yes it does. Very well, actually.
he tries to play down all the discrimination out there and make the people believe it is changing.
Especially discriminations against various cultures/religions.
ascherer: yeah agreed
well i think that the speech was focused on stuff like that it was more about the social status of America
ccamarco: that is true.
ascherer: which is good, but I really think he avoided some key issues such as the economy
ccamarco: he focused on improving the country as a whole, but didn't look into the economy as much as expected.
that may be because there was not much of a change since the Bush administration.
ascherer: yeah I think that he wanted to avoid the issue and talk about things that the crowd would relate to and inspire the crowd
which ties back to the ethos/pathos/logos thing
me: as long as the crowd is on his side then he has a better image with them. by not talking about it he is trying to not tarnish his image.
ascherer: exactly and tarnishing his image would hurt his ethos
ccamarco: yes it would
ascherer: i'm trying to find some other examples of rhetoric
ccamarco: this can also show what he learned from his last term.
ascherer: yeah it can
ccamarco: he has learned that nothing in the economy has really changed so he didn't talk about it in the speech.
ascherer: I also think at times he hinted in the speech at the fact that the congress didn't really let him get things done in the last term which he learned can really hamper his progress
"For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay"
ccamarco: i saw that as well. he was subtle.
ascherer: yeah again he doesn't want to just go out and piss off the republicans by calling them out but I think he wanted to sort of cover up his for his rear end for the things he didn't get done so to do that he hinted at the fact that he congress did not let him get things done
that is pathos
ccamarco: yes it is. a little off topic but i thought his use of a quote from the constitution. was very good.
"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still;"
It really tied our country's past with our future.
scherer: Definitely. It brings the audience back to the time of hope and freedom and equality. A time of good
ccamarco: A time when people set out to improve their lives through hard work and freethought.
ascherer: which is what Obama was promoting. He wants to focus on work and education and innovation to keep America changing and the hub of the world. This reference to the past actually almost helped show the theme of moving forward for the future.
ccamarco: That is the truth!
ascherer: Like that those principles of the past should be used now and in the future to move America forward.And going back to rhetorical devices, I like the way Obama used climax
ccamarco: he used it throughout his speech.
much like most of his other speeches.
ascherer: He tied it in well with parallelism He would build up to it with "We" and then hit the climax
ccamarco: his tone also helped play up the emotions emotions of the crowd to have the climax.
ascherer: Yeah and on a public speaking note, he had a very good feel for the crowd and would almost work their applause into the speech and use it with climax to his advantage
ccamarco: his previous inaugural speech climaxed at the ideas of moving forward. that was also a theme in this speech but not as much as we had expected. that can be seen by our wordle because forward is the largest word while it is not even close in the wordle of this speech.
ascherer: I know man! I thought we had it dead on with forward and future and innovation as the main words. Those were themes, but I would've really thought there would have been more emphasis on it and moving forward with the economy, education, etc. All the parallelism used made “We” such a key word. Knowing Obama’s frequent use of parallelism we definitely should’ve added “We”
ccamarco: We definitely should have included “we.” But our predictions of “nation” was spot on and so was “America.” Although we had those, we should have had them larger because they were common in his speech. i can’t believe he didn't say poof! We went out on a limb and it didn't pay off.
ascherer: Haha lolol I would’ve expected him to say that at least once! I’m sure he poofed while he was up there too so it really should’ve counted.
ccamarco: hahahaha he was definitely poofin’ it up there.
ascherer: Yeah. Well anyway he has learned a lot from the past four years and I can’t wait to see what’ll be in store for the next four. Hopefully he will improve the economy so that we can get jobs coming out of college!
ccamarco: I think there is a good chance of that. His first four years was his warm up years. Now he is set and ready to go.
ascherer: yeah i’m sure he now knows what it is going to take to get things done. I’m excited to see what he can do.
ccamarco: I am excited to see the “change” he is going to bring to this country.
ascherer: Alright man nice chatting with you. We kicked butt.
ccamarco: Indeed we did. Its been real.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Obama: The Return

I, like millions of Americans, am not the biggest politics fan. In my free time, I don't go on YouTube and watch old presidential inauguration speeches. So in my life, I've really only listened to/heard an inauguration speech from two presidents: Obama and Bush. I'm also, nor have I ever been, an expert on rhetorical devices. Pathos, ethos, and logos to me are like transcription, translation, and DNA replication to the average incoming freshman. However, even I could tell that out of the two, Obama's speeches, and speech-giving abilities are clearly superior to Bush's. Obama's first inaugural speech (for lack of a better term) "rocked by socks." And what did I think of his speech given this past monday? Well, let's just say it didn't disappoint.

This year's speech, much like the one back in 2009, was chocked full of rhetorical devices. Right off the bat, he gives us a little sneak peek at the rhetoric that is to come with a bit of repetition in his line "What makes us exceptional-what makes us American." Almost immediately after that, Obama goes back in time to quote the Declaration of Independence. He also, at various other points in the speech, references America in 1776. He specifically highlights the patriots that founded this country during that time period, in order to inspire nationalism throughout the audience by highlighting the accomplishments of our founding fathers, and to convince us continue to "keep safe our founding creed"  that "for two-hundred years, we have."

Obama was also frequently guilty of using parallelism throughout the speech. Two paragraphs after his reference to the patriots of 1776, Obama recites a trio of sentences about America's triumphs over the years (such as determining how to effectively use railroads and highways to benefit the economy, discovering how a free-market should be run, and resolving our responsibilities as a nation.) All three of those sentences began with the phrase, "Together, we..." The purpose of this was again to remind us of what we have, and can accomplish if we work together as a nation. Another instance of this parallelism was (among the almost hundred times he used the word "we") when he began three sequential paragraphs with the phrase "We, the people, still believe that..." Much like with the repetition of the word "we," Obama repeats this specific phrase emphasize the fact that despite our individuality, we are still nation of Americans united as one. This goes back to the motto that together, as a nation we can achieve anything.

Another rhetorical device that Obama made use of a lot during his last inauguration speek was Gradatio. To me, it's not much dependent on the writing, but on the speaker's execution. Obama used this device a couple times in his speech, one example being when he says, "We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own." The reason why it is such a powerful device is that it really energizes the audience to aid in maintaining support from it. It also works to "spice up" an otherwise boring speech (not that this speech was boring)

From listening to his speech, I also learned I am terrible at predicting what Obama is going to say. Looking at my word cloud versus Obama's you can see some glaring differences. The first is that I have about thirteen or fourteen words, while Obama's has probably over one hundred. I guess since his speech was twenty minutes, I assumed he would only speak for about five minutes or so. However, a few of the few words that I did have were somewhat close to what Obama said. My "biggest"word, nation, was used a lot by Obama. Although, Obama seemed to want to use America more than nation, while I thought the opposite. The theme of my word cloud seemed to be overcoming differences to eventually unite as a nation. Obama appeared to bypass the differences, and go right to uniting the nation.

Between Obama's first and second speeches, I'd have to choose this one over the first one as my favorite. I think the main difference  between these two speeches is that his first speech spoke a lot about the country's status at that time. He talked about the crises that our nation faced at the time and who we were individually as a nation at the time. While he did make a few references to the past, and talked about a few thing that we "must do" here and there in his last speech, I feel like this most recent speech really strayed away from the present and focused on the past and the future. He talked about what we've done in the past as a nation, and lessons we can learn from the past to benefit the future. This is particularly evident by the theme of "Faith In America's Future." I definitely think he stuck to that theme, in the sense that "as evident by our past, he has faith in what we could do in the future."

That was all a technical, class-related response to his speak. Personally, I actually think the speech was great. My favorite part of it? My favorite part was his "shoutout" to the the town of Sandy Hook, CT. To me, it showed how much he actually cares for not only the victims of the shooting, but all of us as Americans. It showed that tradgedy is not something that he address in the aftermath because it's his presidential duty, but because he actually cares for the victims.

All-in-all.... way to go Barry O.

Inaugural Address Activity by Nina

So I'm really not into politics and they really make no sense to me so excuse me if I sound like a neophyte (yay vocab word!). I felt like Obama's speech focused mainly on economy, work and children. Reforming programs and policies was another central topic. To me, he pretty much followed "Faith in America's Future," but focused more on how we can improve the future, which I guess is sorta the same (ish) thing. Regardless of staying on theme, I think the content of the speech was good and didn't completely bore me to sleep like most politics do, so I'd definitely say that's good!  He talked a lot about working together and ignoring our differences.

Here he used parallelism excellently to emphasize the importance and history of the country and the people working together:
"Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.  
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune."
He used the same kind of strategy later in the speech but used "We the people," followed with longer paragraphs and repeated it for another parallel effect.

All throughout the speech he alluded to the Preamble, to the Constitution, to Civil Rights, to the Revolutionary Period, and made it all fit together nicely to fit today. He definitely had a lot of pathos in there, one time in particular referring to the "little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own." He also talked about Sandy, which was more pathos. But he balanced out the pathos with logos as well by talking about creating jobs and businesses. 

Compared with the speech from last year, both talked about working together and jobs and economy. 2008's seemed to focus more on the nation and work and the people, but this years was definitely more focused on "together" and equality and how we're on a long journey. I feel like these themes are really similar, which isn't necessarily bad. They each have their nuances though! (LOL another vocab word!!)

And I'll end with my favorite quote from the speech, which happens to use parallelism:
"We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect.  We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall."

Obama Round 2: The Reinaugurating

Obama's presidency has, of course, not gone without criticism. Some of that criticism was accurate, and some was not, but here is neither the place nor the time for discussing the details pertaining to either opinion. What is important, now, is Barack Obama's second inauguration address. It sets the tone for what he hopes the next four years will be like, and it allows him to lay out his plan for America.

One important facet of his inauguration speech I noticed almost immediately was the invocation of the Declaration of Independence and tales of the American Revolution. Here is an example of Obama doing something he does well, often: combining two different aspects of rhetoric. This particular example combines logos and pathos, by combining stories of the American Revolution with his plan to help America come together and move forward.

"Moving forward" was one of the promises of Obama in 2008, and he continues that promise here, albeit on a more subtle level. In 2008, he asked that everyone follow him; now, he wants everyone to work at the same level. The word "together" is used as anaphora towards the beginning of his speech. It was predicted in the word cloud, in fact, that "together" would be an oft-used term.

Much like the word "together," "we" pops up often. Over seventy times, to be exact! His emphasis on community and togetherness is echoed throughout the entire speech, and it represents an interesting departure from his rhetoric four years ago. Then, he saw his election as a turning point for America. His rise to power brought CHANGE® and HOPE® and PROGRESS®, and he would bring America towards a brighter future. Much of what he said then was a response to the Bush administration, and Americans elected him because they wanted someone new to lead them.

Now, Obama's rhetoric is less hopeful. Rather than claiming that his inauguration is a symbol of change in itself, he asks America to work in harmony and strive towards a better future. Perhaps this reflects a less optimistic President, or perhaps simply a more realistic one. He is keenly aware of the partisanship that many have criticized over the past four years, as he refers to the fact that his oath is "to God and country, not party or faction." Here, there is a use of ethos. He is attempting to re-assert his credibility with the American people.

Another good example of Obama's use of ethos is when he uses anaphora and parallelism to list the challenges that America must overcome to ensure a bright future, from civil rights to immigration to public safety. He continually states that America needs to overcome its differences to help those who need help the most. He even cites Newtown in his plea to keep America's children safe in a not-so-hidden example of pathos.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of Obama's second inaugural address is the fact that there are no questions in the entire speech. There is no use of hypophora, nor any rhetorical questions. Since Obama and his speechwriters pore over these sorts of things for months and months in order to make certain that everything is perfect, there is no way that this is unintentional. Personally, I see Obama's use of no types of questions a deliberate attempt to shy away from implying that he has no answer to them. He gives only answers, in fact, to try to prove that his next term in office will be better than his first. It is a subtle and cunning use of logos by Obama, one that could serve him well over the next four years.

Obama's Second Inaugural Address According to Shawn


Considered by many the best orator and rhetorician of all the presidents, Obama had high expectations to meet for his second Inaugural Address on Monday. In his speech, Obama focused on “Faith in America’s Future,” as he outlined some of his plans for his next four years in office. Likewise, Obama made use of various rhetorical advices to appeal to the US citizens and to evoke patriotism and public support for the future of America.

One of the main devices used by Obama is allusions and not only allusions but also direct quotations from some of America’s most famous documents. For example, Obama directly quotes the Declaration of Independence, by stating “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” By doing so, Obama attempts to appeal to the pathos of the American people. He is evoking a sense of patriotism and support for restoring our nation to its glory, by citing some of the most America’s most prized possessions. Another example of Obama’s allusions references Martin Luther King, especially appropriate because the inauguration was on Martin Luther King Day. Obama augments his ethos, by showing his knowledge and understanding of the rich history of the United States of America.

In addition to allusions, Obama’s use of gradatio is significant in not only his Inaugural Address, but in all of his speeches. Obama creates climaxes throughout his speech to create enthusiasm and to emphasize the importance of taking action against the problems America is facing. Obama often starts by describing a problem and then increasing his enthusiasm and tone as he reaches points regarding how we can work to solve said problems.

In response to the hardships that America has faced over the past few years, Obama stresses his hope (and the hope we should all have) for improving America’s position in the world. Obama describes ways that he plans to help America, including reforming health care, supporting democracy across the world, and decreasing our impact on the environment. Interestingly, two of the most commonly used words in this speech are “we” and “must.” We had predicted that Obama would use words like "America," "promise," and "country" most often based on a variety of his past speeches, but he surprised us by using other powerful words. By using the word “we” over seventy times, Obama emphasizes the importance of working together as a nation, not as individuals. The success of the US dependent on the collective efforts of us as a people, not on the hard work of a few individuals. Similarly, the use of “must” describes the imperativeness of improving our nation; Obama believes that we need to fix our nation soon and utilizes his second inaugural address to try to motivate the US citizens to help work for change.

Obama does a great job in addressing the theme of “Faith in America’s Future.” He clearly displays that he wholeheartedly believes that America can be restored to its glory and its position as the most powerful nation in the world. The passion in Obama’s address makes it easy for American citizens to choose to support Obama’s cause for change in the current state of our country.

Compared to Obama’s first inaugural address, this one has a slightly greater aura of urgency. By using words like “must,” Obama insinuates the necessity to change the course America is on. In his last inaugural address, Obama focused more on his plans to improve national unity and fix the issues that he inherited. In contrast, his second address Obama describes his visions for the future of America, long past his term in office. His first term in office seems to have taught him the importance of persevering as a nation and the necessity of national unity through various crises and tough times. By understanding both the accomplishments and his shortcomings of Obama’s first term, he will be able to better serve the country as the President and bring the country back on the track to success, away from economic depression and foreign opposition.