Archive for the ‘speech’ Category

Enargia Example: President Obama’s Presidential Victory Speech

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Plot Summary: Yes we can- timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Enargia is displayed through President Obama’s victory speech. “Yes we can” was his morale- boosting motto throughout his campaign, and he continued that trend for his victory speech.

A sense of being united among Americans soared as he told Americans to “join the work of remaking this nation…block by block, brick by brick, callused hand by callused hand” because his victory is giving the people and him “the chance for us to make that change.”

The confidence in his voice affirmed he visualized an improved United States over the next four years. The audience felt a personal connection to this idea of togetherness and prosperity when he said:

“So let us summon a new spirit, of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder, and not only look out for ourselves, but each other.”

The audience can see the peaceful intent Obama wants the entire nation to have. When he mentioned the “block by block” statement, everyone felt like they could participate in this movement. Low income families to Bill Gates  are equally important to this idea, because he said:

“Tonight we have proved once more that the strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”

The audience visualizes an America as a place of prosperity and unlimited opportunities, which is the American dream. The audience may visualize America as being a busy corporation, in the sense that if one person does not do their job, everyone suffers. Moreover, everyone is important, no matter what their rank in authority.

MSNBC. “Barack Obama Victory Speech: Yes We Can – YouTube.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. MSNBC, 5 Nov. 2008. Web. 09 Dec. 2011.        <;.



Indignatio: Louis C.K. – “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy”

December 7, 2011 1 comment

Comedian Louis C.K. begins this bit by remembering what technology was like when he was growing up and observes the leaps in progress and how people act entitled to a fault. C.K. targets “the crappiest generation”, people who demand more and more from the “miracles” of modern society and technology. He uses narratives of “non-contributing zero[es]” complaining about technology (cell phones) and societal institutions (Air travel) to evoke a sense of anger at them, as well as to foster commiseration with the audience at the annoyance of hearing someone complain so frivolously. He addresses anyone who benefits from modern innovation in an attempt raise the audience’s awareness of how easy and miraculous modern life actually is. He uses strong language and straight-forward terms to express how displeased with the entitlement of modern people, thereby evoking the indignation of the audience and attempting to turn them against the selfishness he perceives in the current generation.

C.K., Louis. Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy Conan O’Brien. 18 August 2011. Television.
N.B. this interview is adapted from a segment of Louis’s stand-up routine, Hilarious, which is pretty vulgar. You can watch it here

Categories: humor, indignatio, narrative, speech

Indignatio: Romney and Gingrich – Republican Debate 12 Nov 2011

December 7, 2011 1 comment

In this Republican national debate, candidates naturally addressed potential voters, targeting the current Presidential administration in order to make themselves more viable options in the upcoming election. One of Mr. Romney’s more impassioned uses of indignatio against the current administration comes when he accuses President Obama of not holding America in high enough esteem and relying too much on his own charisma for foreign relations, rather than strengthening the nation.

“We have a president right now who thinks America’s just another nation. America is an exceptional nation. We have a president who thinks that the way to conduct foreign policy is through his personal affects on other people. I’m– I believe the way to conduct foreign policy is with American strength. Everything I do will make America stronger.” – Gov. Romney

This claim strikes to the heart of his audience, the voters he is courting. Typically, these southern, moderate to conservative citizens are highly patriotic, sometimes to a point of jingoism, and to claim that the President doesn’t love the country he is in charge of and to imply that he does not trust its strength or does not want to strengthen it offends them. Creating offended feelings in the rhetor’s audience is a key factor of stoking indignation and turning them away from the rhetor’s target. Throughout the debate, the candidates all agree on uses of indignatio toward President Obama, with the main goal of the rhetoric explicitly enumerated by Mr. Gingrich.

“We’re here tonight talking to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama. And that’s the topic.” – Congressman Gingrich

They want their audience to be incensed to the point that they just don’t vote for President Obama. It doesn’t matter to them who gets elected, just as long as it is not Barack Obama. This use of indignatio is exemplary of the negative potential of this rhetorical device, as it seeks to prevent something and only promotes a vague alternative.

The rights of this debate belong to CBS News the official transcript is available here and a full, one-page transcript is available here.

Indignatio: Bill O’Reilly – “Talking Points 26 October 2011”

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

In this particular segment of Mr. O’Reilly’s show, he reports allegations of Occupy Wall Street protestors displaying violence toward police and anti-Semitism, and he labels the protestors socialists. His intended audience is mainly people who may be unsure of the issues surrounding Occupy Wall Street or who have only heard “other media” depictions.

“A good number of these people are radicals, no doubt about it, yet they receive gentle treatment from the press.”

His aim is to erode support for the protest movement, through use of indignatio toward the protestors. He reports on violence and a case of one man’s anti-Semitic views to colour the audience’s perception of the protestors. He goes on to use the buzzword “socialistic” to describe the movement. The people he addresses typically have distaste or fear toward socialism, and equate capitalism to patriotism. By knowing his audience, Mr. O’Reilly is able to touch societal nerves that motivate his audience to action. Through use of indignatio, he steers his audience away from the opposing view point. He plays on the fear and anger of the viewer to sway him to his opinion.

O’Reilly, Bill. “Talking Points 10-26-11.” The O’Reilly Factor. 26 October 2011. Video.

Aposiopesis: Example 3

December 6, 2011 1 comment

The final uses of Aposiopesis being analyzed are in a speech given by former president George Bush titled “Columbia.”  This speech is about the space shuttle tragedy that occurred on February 1, 2003.  Throughout the speech, there are many times that president Bush uses Aposiopesis.  While the fact that the speech is a tragedy is a primary reason why he would use silence throughout it, he also uses the silence to his advantage.  Being able to pause frequently allows him to be more careful while giving the speech.

The first instance of aposiopesis to be analyzed in this text is the initial announcement of what specifically has happened.  “The Columbia is lost… there are no survivors… On board was a crew of seven.”  There were two intentional effects of this application of aposiopesis: for Bush to convey to the audience that he personally felt grief over the situation and wanted to express this in order to connect with the audience on a personal level, and to allow the audience a moment to hear and take in what was being said.  Bush was very strategic to place emphasis on these moments of silence, and aposiopesis played an excellent role of creating an emotional atmosphere that was appropriate for delivering such tragic news.

George W. Bush: The Space Shuttle “Columbia” Tragedy Speech to the Nation

“George W. Bush: The Space Shuttle “Columbia” Tragedy Speech to the Nation.” American

Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank. American Rhetoric, n.d. Web. 1 Dec 2011.


Obama’s Question Response at Facebook Town Hall

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

In the recent Facebook Town Hall, President Obama used paromologia in a response to a question asked by a young Facebook employee in attendance concerning a budget plan set forth by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin:

I do think Mr. Ryan is sincere. I think he’s a patriot. I think he wants to solve a real problem which is our long-term deficit, but I think that what he and the other Republicans in the House of Representatives also want to do is change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.

Obama’s use of paromologia is expected and effective as he gives the congressman credit and agreed that he genuinely wants to solve the financial problem but then continues with why he disagrees with the plan. His kind acknowledgement of the congressman’s plan is appropriate for Obama to gain respect himself from both sides of the issue.

Jackson, David. “Obama: Republican Budget Plan Is ‘radical’“ Gannett, 21 Apr. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.

Also available here

Categories: argument, paromologia, speech

Aposiopesis: Example 2

December 6, 2011 2 comments

The presence of Aposiopesis in the movie A Knight’s Tale displays several ways that this device can be utilized. describes this movie;  “After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.”  Near the beginning of the movie, Geoffrey Chaucer introduces the main character, William Thatcher, to an audience using a decorative, elaborate speech.  Throughout the speech, Chaucer constantly uses aposiopesis, even from the first few words.  Here is the first of three different examples of aposiopesis in this text to be briefly analyzed.

He begins with “My lords, my ladies… and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion.”  Between the words “my lords” and “my ladies,” there is a brief pause that serves to give respect to the “lords” in the audience.  This is quite different from other uses of aposiopesis, where it is usually used for placing emphasis or creating some sort of emotion.  The same purpose is applied during the pause between the word “ladies” and the rest of the sentence.  Chaucer gives the royalty in the audience the respect that is customary, while also surprising the audience by acknowledging the lower class portion of the audience.

Another example of aposiopesis in A Knight’s Tale is when Chaucer continues to introduce Thatcher’s (fake) history.  He does this in the following lines;  “…For I have the pride, the privilege, nay the pleasure of introducing to you a knight sired by knights. A knight who can trace his lineage back… before Charlemagne.”  The pause between “back” and “before” serves two purposes: it further captivates the audience’s attention, and it creates suspense and interest for the audience.  By postponing a chunk of the sentence that obviously needs to be finished, Chaucer builds up anticipation, which is a very effective manipulation of speech through aposiopesis.

The last example of aposiopesis in A Knight’s Tale is within the speech about even more false history about Thatcher;  “In Greece, he spent a year… In silence…  Just to better understand the sound… of a whisper…”  All of these examples of aposiopesis are also very effective because, like the last example, they build anticipation of what words are about to come, but also use the silence throughout his spoken words to create a physical form for the actual silence of which he speaks.  This helps the audience to connect with Chaucer, as well as to easily understand and actually feel the emotion that Chaucer is attempting to portray through his story.

Helgeland, Brian, dir. A Knight’s Tale Powerful Speech HD. HDCinemind, 2011. Web. 1 Dec

2011. <;.