AP Composition

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JFK Inaugural Address

October 24, 2010 by ahnap12 · No Comments · Uncategorized

1. In JFK’S speech, there are many abstract words because it’s easier for people to agree with statements or ideas that are not actual or concrete. Words like freedom, poverty, devotion, loyalty, and sacrifice set the tone of the speech as very inspirational and prospective. No one dislikes words like freedom, devotion, loyalty. And no one will disagree with the idea of fighting poverty. By using abstract words, JFK attempts to gain the appeal of the masses, by stating concepts that no one will disagree with.

2. Examples of Rhetorical Figures.

  1. “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside”.
  2. “Chains of poverty”.
  3. “Revolution of hope”.
  4. “This hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house”.

3. ”Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” is a cliches statement. JFK also uses “Friend or Foe”. All in all for his inaugural address, the figures of speech that JFK uses that could be considered “cliches” are appropriate because they are inspirational, not concrete, and generally a coined term (henceforth understandable).

4. The complex sentences within JFK speech convey hidden energy because each clause depends on another so the sentence in prolonged and the overall message is henceforth greater.

5. The dominance of declarative sentences is appropriate in an inaugural address because it’s concrete and factual. It’s much easier to outline goals and state exactly what you hope to accomplish than to use broad terminology in an inaugural address. I shows that speaker knows who she/he is, what she/he wants to accomplish, and that she/he knows how to get there. Declarative sentences make the listeners certain of the future through the speaker’s eyes.

6. ”Not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need—not as a call to battle, though embattled we are”. JFK’s use of Anaphora here enables him to build up to his point that the “trumpet summons” the people to service to “bear burdens, rejoice in hope, etc”. ”Bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control off all nations”. JFK’s use of zeugma was to convey that absolute control it used to destroy nation that are under the control of other nations.

7. ”Symbolizing an end as well as a beginning”. JFK uses parallelism here to convey the idea that his victory is a symbolism of the beginning of change. ”If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”. JFK uses parallelism here to convey the idea that if the poor cannot be helped then neither can the rich. This shows that JFK is interested in economic equality and strongly feels that in order for one side to rise, the other must also. ”For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed”. JFK uses parallelism here to convey the idea that the US wont need arms when he knows that they will never be used again. This contributes to the idea that he is in a way for the war because he argues that we still need arms subtly, yet it seems like he doesn’t agree because in a general sense, the sentence is getting at the point of removing arms.

8. An imperative sentence commands (submissively), while a hortative sentence gives encouragement. Hortative is used first to start the speech off in a very light and happy-go-lucky feel. It draws the audience in to listen. Then JFK switches to imperative to come to a larger conclusion and it is this part of the speech that he can really be assertive (using declarative sentences).

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