Essay about Rhetorical Analysis: “the Challenger Address”

704 Words Jun 21st, 2012 3 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis: “The Challenger Address” The rhetorical situation refers to “a situation in which people’s understanding can be changed through messages.” (Zarefsky, 12). The rhetorical situation analysis consists of four elements: audience, occasion, speaker and speech, each assessing the quality of speech. In this essay, I will analyze the rhetorical situation of the historical speech “The Challenger Address” delivered by the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Americans had high expectations of the space programs which intended to provide the United States a great sense of achievement. The significance of the space program lies in essence in which symbolized American glory in science and technology. (Lambright) …show more content…
In this aspect, he promised fellow Americans by saying “We’ll continue our quest in space,” “nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.” One of the significant events of Reagan that influenced public was Iran-Contra affair in 1986, which the United States was found guilty by the International Court of Justice of war crimes against Nicaragua. As a result, Reagan’s popularity slipped from 67 percent to 46 percent in less than a week (Mayer). By the time, it was the low point of the Reagan presidency (157, Ehrman) Add to this situation, the failure of space program led to negative ethos of Reagan in public’s mind. President Reagan understood this situation and tried to calm the hostilities by delivering the speech sincerely. The last element of the rhetorical situation is speech. Reagan’s primary objective of this speech was to show his condolence to those of who suffered from the accident and involve audience to join for grief. Throughout his speech his ideas were carried in a coherent way, without deviating from his objective. Reagan achieved this through using various words and phrases that magnify his emotion. Using phrases such as “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of god” illustrated his feeling towards the situation without much of explanation. In addition, because he understood that the audience of this particular speech consisted of diversity of