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John F Kennedy's inaugural Presidential speech
A film clip of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961. A political address where JFK sets the tone for his Presidential term. It includes key rhetorical devices and poetic devices and so exemplifies how the two can work together. It has been said this is the first political speech that was designed for the media so it could also be used for exploring what impact the media had on the speech. Opportunity exists for further exploration to see how the address was received in the press the following day.
A good speech for exploring rhetoric. Ask students to highlight: contrasts - "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"; three-part lists - "Where the strong are just, and the weak secure and the peace preserved"; combinations of contrasts and lists (by contrasting a third item with the first two) - "Not because the communists are doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right"; metaphors - "And to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside." Also explore the poetic devices used eg alliteration and imagery. How do these work together with the rhetorical devices usually saved for speeches? Compare the speech with Mark Anthony's speech from Julius Caesar. Who did JFK have in mind when he delivered this speech?
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