Rhetorical Analysis Of President Obama 's Speech

1407 Words Oct 23rd, 2014 6 Pages
In his 2009 Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama gave an impassioned speech filled with extended metaphors along the lines of movement, travel, and a journey. In fact, much of his economic language throughout the first 100 days of his presidency followed this theme. Obama’s use of these metaphors served to characterize the economic crisis, unite the American people, and frame his perspective on the role of the presidency. Thus, through analysis of his rhetoric, we learn that metaphors really do matter. Generally, people see metaphors as a device of the poetic or literary imagination: a figure of speech or a rhetorical flourish. However, metaphors are so much more. First, they form a kind of conceptual system, influencing both cognition and emotion. They frame how people think about difficult or complex problems. “The importance of metaphors to language in general, and rhetoric in particular, cannot be overstated. Metaphors are the foundational element of language through which our concepts and meanings are formed” (Cox). Second, they provide insight into the rhetor’s thoughts, opinions, and attitudes. The metaphors one chooses to employ act like an ideological footprint, identifying how the person truly feels or thinks. When Obama was elected in 2008, the United States’ economy was in shambles. The housing market had imploded, Bush had begun government bailout programs of roughly one trillion dollars, and the citizens were deeply concerned. The general public, and…
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