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Hillary Clinton Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Ms. Betsy Woods
English 111 Section RL
28 September 2010
Writer’s Memo: The purpose of this essay was to do a rhetorical analysis of a political speech. I chose a speech Hillary Clinton made because, although I’m not a feminist, this is something that I feel strongly about. I think I did a nice job of including a variety of rhetorical methods. One thing I had trouble including or proving was Ethos. I’m not sure how credibility ties into this speech, because she’s stating the facts of things that happen on a daily basis in China and some other areas of the world. The essay came together piece by piece, but I struggled with making it long enough.
I chose to analyze a speech Hillary Clinton made on human rights, or more specifically, women’s rights. Although I wouldn’t want Hillary Clinton for a president, I definitely agree with everything she was advocating in this particular speech. She explains the ways in which women’s rights should be equivalent to human’s rights, but are currently not, in China. The issues she was addressing are not issues that we have often in America today; they are horrendous and shocking.
One really obvious method she uses in this speech is anaphora. She emphasizes the phrase, “It is a violation of human rights when…,” by repeating it at the beginning of each statement to help get the point across. Clinton says, “It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.” She repeats the phrase, followed by a graphic description of the degrading events that happen in China on a daily basis, over and over.
This also entails the imagery that she uses, such as “It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.” I think imagery is one of the most effective methods used in this speech because it really makes the audience picture what the women of China experience; what their mothers, daughters, sisters would have to endure, had they been born in Beijing. They can close their eyes and imagine that they are listening to the story of any given woman who was unfortunate enough to have been born in China. The women have no personal rights; they aren’t allowed to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies, such as the choice to have an abortion. They are often forced to have an abortion or even sterilized against their own will.
I believe the simple diction was chosen for the purpose of getting the message across in a clean and concise way. Some of that particular audience might require a translator; this speech was given at a United Nations Fourth World Conference in Beijing, so they most likely are not all English-speaking. The diction wasn’t as lengthy or complex as it probably would’ve been had she given a speech in America.
Warrant is the belief, value, or assumption that the writer hopes the audience shares with them. Clinton establishes warrant by expressing her beliefs about the way women should be treated, assuming they do not appreciate or agree with the way they are currently being treated. Therefore, it is safe to say she shares a common belief with her audience.
Logos comes into play because it’s only logical that women's rights should be equal to all human's rights because, after all, women are humans as well as men. Mostly everything she said in this speech was just common sense. She gives examples of some of the important roles women play, or have the potential to play, in society; “…the homemakers and nurses, the teachers and lawyers, the policymakers and women who run their own businesses.”
Pathos, or appeal to emotion, is what this speech revolves around. Clinton gives quite a few horrifying examples of the way women are abused and treated unjustly. She paints a picture for the audience that is intended to make them feel sympathy toward the victims of this violence. One really upsetting
example was when she stated, “It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.” This statistic probably surprised many people in the audience and maybe even hit close to home for many others.
Hillary Clinton’s speech was very graphic and to the point. She is a strong believer in women’s rights and the simple fact that women are born equal to men, and gives some atrocious examples of the things men get away with. The things that they allow to happen are horrendous. It even sounds as if the government encourages the mistreatment. Yet another statement Clinton made was, “It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.”
I completely agree with Hillary Clinton when it comes to these issues. I don’t know why anyone ever actually believed that women are inferior to men. We’re all humans and therefore deserve to be treated equally. I would imagine she was very successful in getting the audience to believe what she was saying and agree with her conclusions.
Clinton does a very nice job of establishing warrant, pathos, and logos in her speech on women’s rights. One thing she said to summarize the message of the speech was, “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.” All in all, the speech comes together very well and practices a number of methods to persuade the reader to agree with what she was telling them.
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