Rhetorical devices

Michelle Obama utilizes several rhetorical devices in her speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention. The most important of these are anaphora and direct addres…

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Anaphora

Anaphora is the use of a series of phrases or sentences that start in the same way. Michelle Obama uses this device several times in her speech to emphasize her arguments and encourage her audience to remember them.

At first, anaphora is employed when Michelle Obama talks about her status as a speaker during the Democratic Convention. In this case, anaphora has the role of convincing t…

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Direct address and personal stories

From the beginning of the speech, through direct address and using a personal story, the speaker tries to connect to the audience: “As you might imagine, for Barack, running for president is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother, Craig.” 

Mor…

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Enumeration

Michelle Obama often relies on enumeration in her speech. She employs enumeration to list details about the different categories of people who still believe in the American Dream and whom she and her husband hope to help:

It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met wo…

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Humor

Humor is only employed a few times in Michelle Obama’s speech. When she does use it, she mentions her brother Craig and her first impression of her husband’s name. These instances, although rare, make Michelle Obama more reachable and accessible to th…

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Metaphors and similes

Two interesting metaphors are directed towards Michelle Obama’s daughters: “heart of my heart” and “center of my world”. These metaphors suggest the importance of having a family and the dedication she has towards her daughters and towards the younger generation. This helps to present Michelle Obama as a loving mother an…

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