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Essay on Barack Obama's Speech

In: English and Literature

Submitted By emma1459
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Written Assignment 4:
Essay on Barack Obama’s speech at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial (2006)

Even when a life ends, a soul can manage to live on with the people who it has left behind. This can appear through memorable deeds that a life can have managed to make before it passes. The above is what Barack Obama’s speech at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial from 2006 is about. Through the use of many of the same rhetorical instruments that Martin Luther King used before him, Obama establishes not only what Martin Luther King meant to America but also what he means to Obama on a personal level. In the following, I will make a rhetorical analysis and interpretation of the speech.

The speech can be described as being an occasion speech which means that Obama’s aim is for him to entertain his audience at the memorial, by interpreting his vision of Martin Luther King Jr. The speaker is Barack Obama who is an African-American senator and soon-to-be presidential candidate in the United States. The audience for his speech is the participating to the national memorial, but primarily the speech is meant for the African-American inhabitants. He entertains his audience by reminding them of the great things that King has accomplished for the African-Americans in the United States of America: “I will tell them that because he did these things, they live today with the freedom God intended, their citizenship unquestioned, their dreams unbounded” (p. 2, l. 63-64).
Obama’s main claim of his speech is for Martin Luther King to be remembered for his great accomplishments. The ground for his claim is that King was a good man, which Obama inter alia expresses by the use of a quote from the bible: “In the Book of Micah, Chapter 6, verse 8, the prophet says that God has already told us…...

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