Rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are language techniques used to make a speech more persuasive and engaging. These techniques can often help a speaker make his message and ideas more appealing to the audience and capture and maintain their attention.

The most-used rhetorical devices in Barack Obama's announcement speech are allusions, repetitions, and enumerations, which are often combined together. Other rhetorical devices worth mentioning are direct address, figurative language, and paralle…

...

Allusion

The speaker makes numerous allusions to historical events and people, which are symbolical of America’s capacity to change and improve, something which he also promises the American public.

These allusions should be interpreted in the context of the speech and the speaker’s intention. At the time of the speech, Barack Obama was a relatively young and unknown politician, so allusions to great American figures and events are intended to connect Obama with American history in the mind of the public, giving him greater authority and credibility.

For example, there are various allusions to famous US P…

...

Direct Address

Barack Obama’s whole speech is a form of direct address as the speech is delivered in front of an audience with the purpose of informing them of his candidacy for the White House.

However, most of the time, the speaker uses the personal pronoun “we” which suggests that he assumes the voice of the people he addresses: “…

...

Enumeration

The speech includes various enumerations meant to list the points made by the speaker, in order to give a sense of structure and help control the audience’s expectations.

In one instance, Obama lists some of the problems that Americans are confronted with to…

...

Imagery, metaphors, and similes

Throughout the speech, Barack Obama inserts a few narrative techniques such as figurative speech (metaphors) and similes. For example, he mentions people coming “to brave the cold today”, a figurative way of saying they had to fight the…

...

Parallelism

Parallelism is a language technique through which several phrases or sentences with the same structure are used together. In Obama’s speech parallelism is used in c…

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in