1. Select a famous speech to analyze. Please avoid some famous, but “overdone” speeches such as MLK’s “I Have a Dream”. Your choices are a compilation of several collections from American Rhetoric Movie Speeches (see below). American Rhetoric is an excellent resource for this assignment and hosts video clips and written transcripts of many popular movies.
2) Analyze your chosen speech as an argument and write an essay for it about the writer’s effectiveness considering the context in which, and audience to which they were delivered. Essay should identify and explain the rhetorical strategies the author deliberately chose while crafting the text. What makes the speech so remarkable? How did the author’s rhetoric evoke a response from the audience? Why are the words still recognized today?
3) Carefully consider the author’s deliberate manipulation of language. The thesis must be arguable and take language into account; it may not merely tout the general importance of the speech or the valiance of the speaker.
4) Stay focused on the speech as an argumentative text. There isn’t ample space in this essay to carefully detail every aspect of the historical context in which this speech falls. It’s critical to know about the events that led up to the speech, so it is probably necessary to include pertinent details. However, it is not useful to delineate, for example the specific events of the entire evolutionary War that preceded George Washington’s Inaugural Speech.
5) You will use at least two rhetorical devices in your body paragraphs to analyze your speech: ethos, pathos, and logos. To develop and support your points, you will need to use specific evidence, in the form of examples and short quotes from your speech.
Think of the rhetorical analysis as shining a spotlight on an important, hidden meaning in your movie speech and how it says something interesting about our culture today. Remember that the goal of this paper is argument and analysis.
Any speech we cover in class is off limits for the papers.