Rhetorical devices

In his speech, Barack Obama uses several rhetorical devices in his remarks on Trayvon Martin, which are techniques meant to make his speech more convincing and memorabl…

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Allusion

An important allusion that Obama makes in his speech is to Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In that speech, King talks about dreaming his children would one day live in a nation in which people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. In his remarks about Trayvon Martin, Obama makes an allusion to King’s speech in the following lines: “Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character?” 

The…

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Direct Address

Obama is talking in front of news media (reporters, photographers, and journalists), and at the beginning and end of his speech he addresses them directly, letting them know that his spokesman will answer questions afterwards and that they will be organizing another press conference soon. He also signs off with them informal…

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Repetition

Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several sentences. In his speech, Obama relies on anaphora several times. In the following example, anaphora has the role of suggesting that although changes have been made, racism is far from being eliminated from the US: “It doesn’t mean we’re in a …

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Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions are used when the speaker asks a question without expecting an answer from the audience. In his speech, Obama uses several rhetorical questions with the purpose of making the audience think about racial issues and the way they relate to racial bias and prejudice in their lives: “Now, the question for me at least, and I think f…

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