Reflections on a Speech, or Two, or Four

Instead of writing an argument this week, please think about the speeches we read–Two Nobel Peace Prize: William Faulkner and Eli Wiesel. Two Presidential: John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ronald Reagan.

During our Socratic discussions, most everyone did a good job of analysis. Now, think about these speeches again and write a short reflection. Which speech did you like best? Why? Which speech had the most interesting use of appeals or rhetorical devices? What were they? Why were they interesting?

You are about to write your own “Convince Me” speech. Consider the talent it takes to be an effective speech writer. How can these very famous speeches inspire your writing?

(Reflection due by midnight Thursday.)

  1. My favorite speech was President Reagan’s. His use of symbolism with the wall and how it goes much farther than just a physical barrier, but how it is the one thing keeping the world from true peace. His logical appeals and straight-fowardness about capitalism being the superior economic system. His passionate tone and commands. His self accountability; admitting that it is going to take America’s effort as well. His ethical appeals of the success in free markets to give him credibility. And his parallel syntax throughout, delivering a poetic rhythm that would resonate in the minds for long after the speech is given. I loved how he was strong and confident in his nation but also willing to compromise and seek a universal peace. He did not show any weakness in doing this either. His speech was highly influential during a time of tension. He truly was a great speech writer and a great president.

  2. i really like the first speech. I like how he put emotion in it and it was noticible. That’s how we all should write. He used his own advice to show what he meant. Emotion is a concept that is always going to make tye writting better. He used one or two retorical questions which made it more intense. It made you think about the effort its put into the work. He also used logic. He used logic by stating how we don’t write from the heart, but from the glands. The thing he really tries to make people understabd is to write from the heart, and to care about what we the subject is.

  3. My favorite speech was that of John F. Kennedy Jr. He said one of the most influential sentences till this very day; “..ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country”. He uses plenty of parallel syntax that I found very effective because it was also very interesting. Although John F. Kennedy’s speech was my favorite, the speech with the most interesting use of appeals and rhetorical devices is Ronald Reagan’s speech. He spoke to the entire world in just one single speech . He used plenty of emotional and logical appeal that I found very interesting to see how he used it with the topic of freedom and the example of the Berlin wall. I also enjoyed his repetition. It allowed the reader to almost remember what his speech is about, and to continue having it in their minds as the speech goes on. His parallel structure also gave his speech an intresting edge because that way the speech wasn’t given in a boring tidious way in which it had long boring sentences but rather different lengths and types of sentences that kept the audiance captivated.

  4. My favorite speech of all four would be the one about the Holocaust. He uses ethos, repetitiveness, diction, and imagery that really puts you in his shoes. He uses ethos by using “I” repetitively, and asks rhetorical questions in which makes the reader reflect upon their own life styles. We never had to endure that. We just stayed “silent” but all it did was torment the tormented, and allow the enemy to keep destroying. His diction sets the imagery in the passage in which he uses harsh words to compell the tragedy that not only he, but all the holocaust survivors had to endure. It really puts the reader in their place. I know I started to appreciate the things I have in life after reading it. It made me appreciate life, and not only that but by Faulkner not accepting the award on his behalf but rather on the behalf of everyone who endured that frightening moment really showed an act of unselfishness. Overall, the speech Faulkner gave really showed that this world isn’t so selfish as it seems. There are some who, even with all they went through and have total right of being selfish, rather would be unselfish but rather caring towards others. I think Faulkner did an excellent job, and I hope I can be able to write as he did some day!

  5. My favorite speech was Kennedy’s presidential speech because he sounds like a president in his speech. While persuading that, for peace and freedom to come, we must work together, I can see him giving the speech—confident, likeable, striking. I find his speech interesting because of his numerous rhetorical devices. He uses many contrasts (along with logos) to include everyone in the peace-making and to show the different paths that we can travel down as a nation. I also find his alliteration impressive, although some of it may be unintentional. “Let us go forth to lead the land we love” and “break the bonds of mass misery” add emphasis to his words—“widespread misery” doesn’t ring as well as “mass misery” does. Kennedy’s speech is an excellent example of how I should write my “Convince Me” speech. His adroit mastery of rhetorical appeals and appeals creates a memorable speech; if I can write like him—if I can add that presidential punch to my speech—my speech will be remarkable.

  6. Out of all four of the speeches I liked Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize speech. The use of personal connection between the author and the subject matter was very strong, use of emotional diction, and metaphor for things such as silence was so passionate. Wiesel’s voice was easily distinguishable through the speech and captured me with every word. John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, however, has the most interesting appeals with chiasmus and contrast. These appeals take one thought and turn it around to show that everything has two sides. In my speech I can use repetition to build emotion, personal connection to the subject, and contrast to show why my argument is better than the counterargument.

  7. Out of all four great speeches the one that had the most impact was Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech. Not only because he defends the souls that we lost but because he convinced me that “We must always take sides”, and stand up for what we believe in. He stood up for the Jews and realized that he was doing wrong when he said “It would be unnatural to me not to make Jewish priorities my own: Israel, Soviet Jewry, Jews in Arab lands … But there are others as important to me.” It’s not just about religion anymore. “Human rights are being violated on every continent.” and it’s ironic that at the time he gave this speech the U.S. we struggling with segregation and the true meaning of equality. Like Elie Wiesel I will use repetion, imagery and contents of current event so that people can relate with my argument.

  8. Of the four that we read, my favorite speech was John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. His way of motivating the people, not giving unrealistic promises, and choice of words/phrases was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Just reading it, I felt like it really hit my heart because it was so motivational. Talking about making the world, not just America a better place really hit a wide audience and when he said, “It’s the right thing to do” he brought in ethical and emotional appeal towards the people. By not giving unrealistic promises, he wasn’t saying anything that could stab him during his term. He stated, “It won’t happen in the first 100 days, or the first 1000 days…” and that showed he was the one that was going to help America take the first step, but it’s the people’s responsibility to carry it on during and after his presidency. Lastly, the power in his sentences left me speechless. I pictured him standing in front of millions, and the whole crowd just cheering when he stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, showing the true colors of democracy and rallying the people to support him and make change.


  9. Out of those four speeches, my favorite speech was William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. It was my favorite because he explained what the writer should actually write about, and how something should be written instead of just saying “thank you” and taking his award. He explained that a writer should write using his emotions instead of just being fueled by sweat. He also wrote about how we should write about the things that many people would consider taboo because if we don’t write about it, who will?
    My favorite rhetorical device that he used was when he talked about the “puny inexhaustible voice” that still talks even when everyone else has given up. It was a good choice of words, even though they were so contradicting because even though the voice was puny, it would still never wear out.

  10. In the first speech feelings, emotions, and a clear image was put to its advantage. One of my favorites since it is similar to my type of writing and ways of expressing. He is comparing things with young children who will someday be standing where he is. Because of his hopes in being able to change the way literacy is seen and done. He asks a question during his speech allowing for you to answer in your head as well as to be able to have connections with what he feels and says. He conveys the reader’s thoughts to truly be defined only to express the writer’s true ways. So why have a speech that doesn’t truly show the real person that you are?

  11. The speech that inspired citizens of the United States of America to rise up and people across the globe to maintain their ground was former president John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. His use of various rhetorical devices such as cacophonous diction and parallel syntax placed emphasis on the growing threat of communism on poverty stricken nations. The use of chiasmus, a device used to change the meaning of a phrase by reordering the words, convinces his audience that their views must be reversed. When Kennedy wants says, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate,” he wants to see eye to eye with the other side, and control the arms within countries. The diction outlines Kennedy’s fear of dependency on the destructive, alarming, burdening, terror-inducing sciences that, at the time, killed many. He also alluded to Isaiah in the Bible when he quoted, “Undo the heavy burdens … and to let the oppressed go free.” Using parallel syntax and repetition in a convincing speech would smoothly connect the ideas I present to the class. Cacophonous diction would emphasize my opposition towards other views, and taking advantage of the appeals by alluding to credible text will help my message impact the class.

  12. My favorite speech is the very first speech that we read from William Faulkner’s speech. The reason why this caught my attention more than the other speeches was because this one had an emotional appeal to it that connected me to a lot of what he was trying to say. I really like the word choice that he used also the words that he specifically used as repetition. For instinct he used the word compassion a lot and also the word sacrifice. With this it allowed the audience to feel a connection or grasp of the speech because these words are not common words that everyone says to one another on a daily basis. Although this was my favorite, I felt that the one that used the most appeals and in an effective way is President Reagan’s speech because he used symbolism and metaphors that led to his main goal of getting people emotionally and also logically. My favorite one was when he used the Berlin wall as an example and with that it should past problems and also it connected the present problems that can come up or have already occurred throughout the world.

  13. I thought that the speech by Faulkner was my favorite. His style I commonly incorporate into my essays. Repetition. Imagery. Strong and emotional diction. His metaphors were really hitting home, “… he labors under a curse.” He used “sweat” and “fear” and “sacrifice” for the whole feel that it’s not easy to run that last lap. It’s not easy to push through that last hour of a test. But people have to find “endurance” to carry on. I found it interesting how he used emotion- even though his whole speech was about emotion itself. If we were to really take in what he is saying, what would the world be like without emotion of any sort? No expressions, joy, pride, laughter. It would be bland boring and bare. I wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning, if I had to wake up to that. The only way we get away from that is to express from the “heart” not the “glands.” Meaning; live life for the passion not the air.

  14. I liked Faulkner’s speech the best– he put incredible passion in his words. I loved the personification of “agony and sweat of the human spirit” and his metaphors for “universal bones” and such. He’s so expressive in such an interesting and passionate way–I hope to use this exaggeration and passion in my one tone to better my writing. Hopefully I can learn to be creative this way with personification and metaphors.

  15. The second speech by Elie Wiesel was an inspiring piece of work. Wiesel used his personal association to draw a connection of emotional ties to the audience. Through his use of rhetorical questions one can divulge into the topic of silence verses the use of voice to strengthen an argument. The line produced a vivid picture in my head was this, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.” This quote felt like an encouraging promise that could be made applicable in my life, therefore this speech created a lasting impact. However the speech that I found most interesting would be William Faulkner’s Noble Prize Speech because the ideals that he captures through the art of repetition and sentence structure help the resonance of his voice to be clearly displayed. Throughout Faulkner’s speech I noticed that only one rhetorical question was present; however, the direct punch of that short clipped question changed the tone that was molded in the start of his speech. Writing leaves a lasting impression in everyone’s lives; the audience’s and the writer’s.

  16. I personally enjoy Ronald Reagan’s speech the most, in my view his is the speech that completly encompasses what a succesful speech should be. It is inspiring, flattering and convincing. The inspiring aspects can be seen in how Reagan moves through levels of intensity throughout his speech, he starts off soft but rises in intensity until he explodes with passion in the line “Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! This successfuly inspires the audience into action. Reagan also spends the first part of the speech flattering the audience. Constantly commenting on the courage and determination of the german people and the beauty of berlin. This puts the audience on his side from the very start. He also makes a very convincing argument for democracy, comparing the prosperity of democratic nations to the rising economic faliure of communist russia. This is effective because it makes people see and favor his side. These aspects together make a speech that will successfully convince anyone in the audience.

  17. My favorite speech would definitely have to be Kennedy’s inaugural address. His use of contrast, allusions, and appeals is mesmerizing. It’s a carefully crafted speech, in which there are many references to things one might normally miss-like iron tyranny referring to the iron curtain-if just skimming the piece. The idea that our President not only wants to expand the borders of peace, but make peace with our worst enemy at the time, is incredibly rational. I think one of his major assertions was when he states, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price…to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” A powerful quote that needs much support from the people who voted for his presidential platform, yet Kennedy does not shy away from his opportunity to create change. At the end, he finishes up by announcing, “…God’s work must truly be our own.” The amount of responsibility that he handed to each person in the world just went up twenty notches. These speeches can inspire my style of writing, as well as my thought process. I look forward to using some of their convincing measures, and coming up with a well developed speech that can be thoroughly analyzed and interpreted in a multitude of ways.

  18. William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech was my favorite speech out of the four given to us. His emotional appeals to the audience gave them the feeling he was trying to get across to them. His personification of “agony and sweat of the human sprit” is referring to the mental sweat he puts into his work. In my own speech, I feel like Faulkner’s words are telling me to tell my audience my feelings on the topic I choose. I should look as my speech as more than just an English assignment, but a open book to how I truly feel about the subject.

  19. Out of the two Nobel Prize winners and the two Presidential speeches, to me the best was Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Prize Speech. In his speech, he let the audience know exactly what the purpose of his speech is. He uses examples to become more credible and lets the audience know that “As long as one child in is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame”. His speech to me was the one that got to me the most and I agreed with every word he said. The speech that has the most interesting use of rhetorical devices was William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Speech. He uses repetition, polysyndeton, rhetorical questions and specific word choice to get his point across to the audience in his speech. The devices he used in speech were interesting because it caught the audience’s attention and let them know that this was a serious problem that needed to be resolved soon.

  20. William Faulkner Noble Prize Speech is my favorite not only because it’s a well developed speech but it connects more to the audience. As a writer you shouldn’t regret what emotions you write. “His griefs grieve on mo universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.” Faulkner is saying that we should leave no details of emotions out, as we write. Not only will it develop you to become a well writer but it will grab the audience attention. He emphasizes that a writer should use his emotions instead of being a typical writer that doesn’t express his or her feelings.
    Faulkner’s uses emotional appeals to convey that emotions are the one of the ways to express the past and move on. “Because of this, the young woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself…” Now a day’s society only judges one another instead of caring for their own problems within them self. “Love and honor and pity and pride” He also uses reputation to emphasize on how much he cares about the topic of emotion. This speech inspired me to think hard about emotion and details when I’m writing a paper, without “leaving no scares”.

  21. From the four speeches we discussed in class, I really enjoyed Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Wiesel’s speech effectively targeted people to stop being quiet and stand up for a change. His speech was unique because he used flashback to help prove that the problem has been long-lasting. Although I enjoyed Wiesel’s speech, the most interesting speech was John F. Kennedy Jr.’s. Kennedy Jr.’s speech used parallel structure, allusion, metaphors, emotional appeal, and chiasmus to get the people to work with his “agenda” of fixing the nation. The devices helped get the attention of all the people in the nation and around the world, because Kennedy Jr. targeted a certain group in each paragraph of his speech.
    When I write my “Convince Me” speech, I want to incorporate both Wiesel’s and Kennedy Jr.’s writing techniques of chiasmus and the use of emotional appeal to persuade my audience. Their techniques would definitely enhance an upper level of writing, and at the same time it would challenge me to be more creative in my writing.

  22. I really connected to and enjoyed the first speech (Faulkner) because it highlighted the lack of emotion in all types of writing in the world today, especially mine. What really stood this speech out from all the others was his use of emotion to portray the lack of emotion, but through an analogy of the heart compared to the other glands in the body: compassionate kindhearted words vs. immortal dull words. It gave the rhythm and the vibe to his speech, just like what the heart does to the human body, and as it fades away, it just dies down to a point where hope doesn’t exist, like in writing. As we write our speeches it is intensely important that we use emotion, whether its voice or action, to connect with the audience and stress problem or subject, that way the people are emotionally convinced and tied. A work of art (writing) which did not begin in emotion is not art.

  23. It was definitely eye-catching to see Elie Wiesel’s speech embed all of the schemes that Faulkner’s speech suggests writers use. Elie Wiesel’s speech was truly phenomenal, and captivating. Speeches are meant to have a purpose, but after that purpose comes more, with that purpose comes evidence, comes CONVINCING, and audience appeal.
    Wiesel’s speech is effective because it uses evidence, such as dialogue and real world dilemmas. He incorporates a lot of use of pathos in his speech to truly connect with the audience, making his speech much more effective and CONVINCING.
    Elie Wiesel also uses parallel syntax in his speech at several ocasions, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”. With this not-so-simple sentence, Elie accomplishes to make whoever the listener may be, to go deeper into the topic that is being argued. This speech is built strategically to intensely connect with the audience, this is why it uses imagery, “The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car”, and several doses of emotional appeal.
    I enjoyed this speech the most because although the conflict was something that didn’t concern me, by reading this speech it made me become part of it, I felt every word and took the meaning of this speech to create my own strong opinions towards this topic. It CONVINCED me, which is what speeches are meant to do. Enough said.

  24. I really liked JFK’s speech. It was, in itself, a very intricate piece of literature. The appeals that were indirectly (and sometimes directed) delivered to the audience were very interesting. The multiple use of anaphora’s showed a sense of giving orders to different people, while still referring to everyone at the same it. It separated all his thoughts and the audience “took in” what they felt represented them. The way he used all the appeals separately in his speech show how he really tried to get the speech to affect everyone. If someone wasn’t an American, he/she wouldn’t have paid much attention to the first few paragraphs that were explicitly directed to the American people, but would’ve paid more attention to the later paragraphs directed to everyone else in the world. I think that by reading famous (thus effective in their appeals) speeches will help me learn what made them effective and be able to not only replicate but come up with new and innovative ways to reach my target audience.

  25. My favorite speech was Kennedy’s, because of the power and foresight that he emitted. Throughout the speech, all kinds of rhetorical devices are used; he personifies liberty to enunciate that the U.S. will do everything to protect it; he displays the ill fate of those who abuse their power through metaphor; he shows the strength behind the goals of his presidency with alliteration. These all contributed to the overall sense of power and leadership in Kennedy’s words. Another device used was contrast, which stressed the importance of unity and righteousness by giving an examples of the opposites. The complexity of Kennedy’s speech gave it great depth, but it maintained a clear message to the people (that’s why I like it). This speech will help me with my own by reminding me that rhetorical devices are just as important in a speech as in an essay.

  26. Out of all four of the speeches, the one that stood out to me the most was Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize speech. The usage of pathos, the way he had made a personal connection between the author and the subject was very convincing, and usage of metaphors. In my speech I can use repetition to emphasize on something to help get the point across more and build emotion, rhetorical questions too get the person thinking more about the purpose.

  27. William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize speech was my favorite, because it conveyed emotion in a way that none of the other three speeches did. It got to the heart of exactly what writers must do in order to truly serve humanity — to keep us from perishing. This speech shows, above all, the writer’s duty to write from and of the heart in order to ensure that humanity not only endures time, but prevails intellectually. Through his use of emotionally-powerful diction, oxymorons such as “decline to accept” and “puny inexhaustible,” and repetition of words such as “prevail,” Faulkner reaches his audience on a very deep and personal level . These rhetorical devices combine to create a very powerful and emotionally-charged speech, which is not only interesting and captivating, but, to a certain extent, touches every reader’s heart in one way or another. By telling writers to write “of the human heart in conflict with itself,” Faulkner sets writers free emotionally, and shows them the endless possibilities and new discoveries we can make by sharing our struggles and inner conflicts with the world. More than anything else, these speeches can help my writing by truly inspiring me to write freely and limitlessly, and never be afraid to put my emotions into my writing. From these speeches, I can learn how to effectively move an audience by relating to them through the use of emotions felt by all. These speeches have also encouraged me to not be afraid to write in my own style, as each speech follows a distinct style that identifies the speaker and conveys the message in a unique way.

  28. Before starting this, I am sorry for how late this is, I have been sick and couldn’t get this done earlier.

    I liked the first speech, it was compelling and I really connected to it. The style of the speech just spoke to me, it told me to try harder in this class. This speech showed me that I needed to try harder and actually see the uses of this class. I felt the speakers words hit me, his devices worked, this really made me think and for that I loved this speech. I personally think that the first speech had the best rhetorical devices and appeals, the speaker really went for the audience (in this case us) by referring to us (the youth) it made me and a few other people realize the harm we are doing to the world and society. The devices that the speaker used were emotional appeals, facts (based on morality and history), and credibility. The devises were very interesting because they were actually hitting the audience somewhere, where logic lives. The devices made the audience think about our society and what it would be like if we kept going at this rate. Where would we as the human population, as the race go with this, this type of speech and talk that one day may race the percentile of illiteracy. These speeches can help me in shaping my own appeals to convince people of my thoughts and ideas. The first speech really made me think and change my mind on how I view this class so it could also help me do the same for my argument.

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