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Words of Maggs

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October 2016

Rhetorical Analysis on Michelle Obama’s Speech on Donald Trump’s Alleged Treatment of Women

Michelle Obama presented a speech on Donald Trump’s alleged treatment of women. Her speech was mainly projected at women and young people trying to get them to understand that anyone who says such repulsive things as Donald Trump said should be ignored indefinitely. Michelle is also trying to emphasize to youth and women that their votes matter in this 2016 elections and for Hillary to win they need to rise and step up to the occasion. She used profound literary elements of ethos, pathos and logos to get the point across.

Ethos is when the writer or speaker says something that gives them authority and gives the audience a reason to believe and listen. As Michelle talks she mentioned how our male presidential candidate is able to give young women and children an awful image of themselves. She goes on to say things like, “As a mother…” or “As a women…” and follows with how it’s painful enough for her to hear these things and how it must be even worse for any child. By starting off with “As a mother…” or “As a women…” it automatically allows people to connect and believe what she’s saying because she is in their shoes, because she is similar to them as a woman and mother. In addition to this she uses her position as first lady of the United States as well as living in the white house to give her authority. She says things such as, “And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for the President of the United States bragged about sexually assaulting women.” This gives off an effect that if she is this shook by his actions something is definitely wrong, as this shouldn’t be presidential behavior. It gives her the jurisdiction of knowing that Donald Trump is not the right person for president because she’s in the white house and knows what is going on and know who the right person is… which she soon makes clear that it is Hillary Clinton.

Pathos comes from the speaker. Its emotional connection, emotional inclusion, empathic connect to make the audience feel secure and trust the speaker. Michelle relates the sexual predatory behavior of Donald Trump to feelings that women have had to experience before. She says, “It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body.” And goes on to say, “It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them, and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen.” These disgusting and cruel scenarios touch the heart of all women whether they are mothers, grandmothers or any type of guardian because they know it can happen to the children as well. Even by using “you” with 2nd person it allows everyone and anyone watching to feel personally attacked and emotionally distraught. By relating Donald Trump to these scenarios and affiliate him with these feelings, leaves the crowd feeling violated and gives an effect that no one in their right mind would one a leader of their nation to not only say but do things like kissing and groping women and using language so obscene that they are afraid of their children hearing it. Concerning any children also incorporates pathos because children are seen as the ones who need the most protection from the nasty people that say and do what Donald Trump have said and done. She also uses pathos to compare Donald Trump to men who are kind and our sickened by “the thought of their  daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women.” She says, “The men you and I know don’t treat women this way.” Using you and I, allows the audience to share a common characteristic that the men they know are kind and right which is the opposite of what our male candidate is leading to the fact that Hillary is the only right option.

Logos relates to the message of the speaker. Logos is an appeal to logic, and is a way of persuading an audience by reason. In her speech, Michelle mainly uses the argument that Donald Trump doesn’t appeal to basic human decency and is an inhumane excuse for a man and unfit to be President of the United States. In the beginning of her speech she says that as women, parents we want to raise our children and youth to be “respectful adults and citizens who think that our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.” By saying this it persuades the audience members to see, believe and understand that the man running for president is not meeting basic human standards by treating women with demeanor and disrespect. She bring in an anecdote of a six year old boy who knows better than donald trump’s inhumane comments. She says, “A six year old who knows that this is not how adults behave. This is not how decent human being behave. And this is certainly not how someone who wants to be president of the United States behaves.” Michelle uses logos by clearing outlining right from wrong and emphasizes that Donald Trump is the wrong and will be the wrong while Hillary Clinton is the right and will be the right for this nation. Also in regards to Hilary she says toward the ends of her speech that, “We cannot afford to be tired or turned off. And we cannot afford to stay home on election day.” She’s saying it is unacceptable and illogical and as a nation we are not able to bear not using the power we have to elect the right person for president which is Hillary Clinton.

In conclusion, Michelle Obama uses her position as first lady and as a mother to create an unconscious position of authority to her audience. She also uses emotional triggers to create emotional connection, emotional inclusion, empathic connect to make the audience feel secure and trust her. Lastly she uses logos precisely give an image of a right and wrong candidate for the presidency and relates the wrong to Donald Trump and the right to Hillary Clinton. All while she maintains sophistication and composure to such grueling topics and delivers an effective speech towards her specific audiences in that environment.

Hey White Eyes & Hey My Eyes

Two poems are written. One is from a minority’s perspective and one is from a privileged ignorant person’s perspective. The poems try to focus around the fact that people all around the world have stereotypes and ignorant people assume they know other’s lifestyles  based on features like race, clothes etc. Using eyes in the poems are also trying to represent how some people who are not the minority don’t see minority’s struggles and sometimes don’t see them as someone who is equal to them.


Eyes.

Blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes, white eyes.

Eyes are staring, eyes are shifting.

The eyes of those who know

No suffering

Are the blindest of eyes.

Looking at us as a spot, a colored spot, just another spot.

Not just another spot but a dark spot,

Who lives in a dark place and had a dark life and knows nothing about being a white spot.

Eyes not looking, eyes just glancing

Eyes looking over, around, under but never through, never of, never us.

They think they see so they think they know.

They look over us like they look over waves to the horizon.

They look around us like a person standing in their way.

They never look through or of so they don’t know that that spot isn’t a dark spot but a light spot,

A brilliant spot, a beautiful spot, a struggling spot but

A proud spot.

Blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes,

Hey, white eyes.

Stare and glance because waves are what make up the ocean so that there is even a horizon to stare at.

Look so you can know.

Look at a colored spot as a bright spot.

Look at us just as you look at yourself.


Standing on a tower I am.

At the top I am.

Look at them, all of them.

It’s funny how they talk funny

Must be because they live where I don’t

And don’t do what I do.

Why do they linger and protest?

Acting like flies, swarming and buzzing around something that is never going to move.

Being a nuisance to everyone around,

Don’t they know they can be swatted away,

Don’t they know I am at the top?

Look at me versus them.

I’m light enough and bright enough to stand out.

All they can do is hide in the shadows.

There are so many.

So many standing in the way.

Turn back, go back, get back.

What are they looking at?

Hey, eyes up you’re in the way.

Look at their eyes,

Why do my eyes look so much like theirs?

Proposal for Creative Response to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen

Medium: I would like to communicate my response with two poems of two different perspectives and include a short artist statement as required.

Topic: A big idea I want to focus on would be invisibility.

Message: Messages I want to express to my audience would be how the world and its peoples have stereotypes and ignorant people assume they know other’s lifestyles  based on features like race, clothes etc. I also wanted to express how some people who are not the minority don’t see the minority’s struggles and sometimes don’t see them as someone who is equal to them.

Audience:  Of course I want this to be direct at everyone but a main group would  be people with the majority of privilege in the world and how sometimes they’re unable to see  or understand the people will less privilege and more struggles.

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