Analysis of Ronald Reagan's Sppech, The Challenger Disaster

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While seated in the Oval Office of the White house, January 28, 1986 President Ronald Reagan delivers his speech The Challenger Disaster; hours after the space shuttle The Challenger explodes while in take off. Thousands witnessed this horrifying event live in person and on television. This mission was very unique allowing the first civilian to ever be allowed in space during a mission. She was aboard The Challenger as an observer in the NASA Teacher in Space Program. Ironically, nineteen years before this disaster, three astronauts were tragically lost in an accident on the ground. President Reagan remembers those astronauts that were lost not only the day of the disaster, but also those who were lost nineteen years before. He conducts …show more content…
This speech has meaning, excites emotions and reaches out to all, which makes it a great speech. Although Reagan chooses to ignore his administrations responsibility in The Challenger disaster, he concentrates instead on reassurance of the nation which makes this speech uplifting to the American people.

To do a rhetorical analysis of this speech we would follow the Neo-Aristotelian approach. The Neo-Aristotelian approach consists of five canons which are invention, organization, style, memory and delivery. First I will start off with Invention. According to Foss "the critic's concern in applying the canon of invention is with the speaker's major ideas, line of argument, or content" (29). Invention is divided into two categories: external proofs and internal proofs. External proofs "include sources used by the author but does not create, including testimony of eyewitnesses" (Foss 29). I will focus on the internal proofs of this speech, which are logos or logical argument; ethos, the appeal of the speaker's character and pathos, emotional appeal. In the speech of The Challenger Disaster Reagan does not necessarily present an argument, but rather a speech to console and find meaning. He starts the speech by recognizing the terrible accident that happened nineteen years ago and relates it to The Challenger disaster. The events are factual and therefore are logical to be included in the opening of this speech. To begin the

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