Back to School Speech

Obama’s speech was to encourage students to make the most of their time in school to create a better future. Several times he brings up the idea that “children are the future.” His argument is strong when he puts in young people’s minds that they have the ability to affect the future. He uses ethos in the very beginning of his speech in his acknowledgements. Right away he shows you his character when he acknowledges people like the principle and recognizes the high school as one of the best in the nation.

One of the first things I noticed was his pacing. Obama is a very slow but steady speaker. He makes frequent but brief pauses and his speed reflects the tone of his message. His tone is very sincere and friendly. This is a friendly encouragement opposed to a serious message about a topic such as war. This means his facial expressions and body language are more relaxed. His posture is very strong and confident.

Obama uses many gestures while he is speaking. He talks with his hands, and he uses them to emphasize certain points. I noticed he uses lists followed by further explanation. This helps people to organize the information in their minds and understand what he is saying.

He uses logos to tell young people that they can make a difference now and in the future. With this he uses logical appeals to show us what we can do to better the world now. He uses specific examples of young people that have done good deeds and have already been positively affecting society. This is used to encourage other young people to do the same by showing that it is possible. It is as if he is saying, “They have done it, therefore, you can do it too.”

One of his examples is about a girl who helped with cancer research. There are people who actually work in cancer research that want to work with her. In his example he uses pathos because of the subject matter. It tugs at your emotions and makes you want to be able to make the same kind of difference. This is also an appeal to your ethics because it shows young people are capable of such things. You feel like you have an obligation to try to improve socitey as well.

At the end of his speech Obama says, “Your country is depending on you.” He is using ethos because this is the center of the his argument, and he is telling young people that they should do well because the whole country is depending on them. This is revealing his motives for the speech. It also puts pressure on young people to do well in school because “we are the future.” The implication is that if we succeed in school we will succeed in life, and we will have a better nation.