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Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention Speech 2008

This study guide will help you analyze the Michelle Obama’s Democratic Convention speech from 2008. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on main topics, speaker, audience, language, modes of persuasion, circumstances and intention. 

Presentation of the speech

Title: “Michelle Obama’s Democratic Convention Speech 2008”
Speaker: Michelle Obama
Context: The Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado
Date of speech: August 25, 2008

Michelle Obama (b. 1964) was the First Lady of the United States of America from 2009 to 2017. She is married to Barack Obama, who was the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to hold that office. Michelle Obama is a lawyer and a writer and had an important role during her husband’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and in 2012. She is currently an activist for women and she advocates – among others – for education, women’s issues, and LGBT rights.

You can watch the speech here.

Excerpt 

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Allusion

Michelle Obama makes a few allusions throughout her speech. When she talks about Hillary Clinton, she makes an allusion to the speech Hillary made when she dropped out of the Democratic Party candidacy in favor of Barack Obama: “People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.” By suggesting that she respects Hillary Clinton even though she was Obama’s key rival, Michelle Obama presents the Democratic Party as being united.

Also, an important allusion that Michelle Obama uses in her speech involves the “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered by Martin Luther King Jr.. In his famous speech, Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for the end of racial discrimination in the US and demanded equal rights between citizens of every race and color: “… and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.” 

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Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention Speech 2008

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