Rhetorical Analysis of Gov. George C. Wallace Inaugural Address

George C. Wallace gave his inaugural Address on January 14, 1963, to a large crowd of primarily white, racist, religious, and relatively uneducated Alabamians. His argument relied heavily on the ideas of the people in his audience and the ideas of time period which he gave his speech. Wallace effectively used the logic of religion, appeal to emotion, and his authority as a southern Christian to successfully convey his message to his audience of segregation as a necessity for the Alabamian society to thrive economically and socially.

Wallace used logic to prove his point only on the basis of the southern perception of God. For example, he claims that southern whites have the right to maintain segregation for the prosperity of their states (including Alabama) because God is giving them the “wisdom and the strength” to fight for segregation. Wallace also uses the logic that segregation was the right way to live in the eyes of the founding fathers because they institutionalized racism by allowing slavery; therefore it is the right way to live in the eyes of God because the founding fathers were highly religious and used God as an endorsement for their actions. According to this logic it is the Southerner’s spiritual responsibility to fight for segregation. He says, “southerners played a most magnificent part interacting with great divinely inspired system of freedom… and as God is our witness Southerners will save it.” This was an effective approach to logic because his audience was mostly religious and motivated by the logic of God. If he uses God’s logic to prove his message as beneficial to society his audience will be easily convinced and would rally behind him. Wallace’s use of logic was not as essential to convincing his audience as the emotional appeal, however it was important in order to show that he has “reasoning” to some extent and is not driven solely by personal motives.

Most importantly, Wallace used the appeal of emotion and common ideals to rally his audience behind the goal to maintain segregation. He uses the justification that he wants black people to be successful… but separate: “We invite the negro citizens of Alabama to work with us from his separate racial station.” As shown here, he’s acting welcoming to the group he wants to segregate from people of his own race and economic status. This makes it seem like he has the best interest for them, and therefore his ideas will be beneficial to everyone. This also may reach his black audience as inviting, and because he establishes this connection with them, they are more likely to support him. Also shown in that quote, he uses language such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ to establish a sense of community and force the audience to assume that they agree with him because they’re on his side. Another main point of emotional connection is his use of southern pride to unite his audience under his goal. Wallace often references back to ‘our grandfathers,’ like in this quote when he says, “our grandfathers bent their knee only in church and bowed to their head only to God.” Here he is talking about the difficulties Southerners experienced after the Civil War within the Reconstruction time period. By introducing this nostalgia and pride about southern confederate leaders and forefathers, he encourages the audience to continue those values in honor of their ancestors. Wallace boasts about southern perseverance to maintain segregation, and uses this with his southern audience to show them that they should continue this fight.

In addition, Wallace uses his authority as a fellow racist, white, religious, Christian to prove his point. He assumes the values of his audience and uses his own personal experiences as a southerner and a Christian to again establish southern pride; Wallace uses this to convince his audience that he can be trusted and to show them that they should rally behind him. One instance where he establishes his religious authority is when he says, “This is the heritage of my religion, of which I make full practice… for we are all the handiwork of God.” Of course, as it is his inaugural address, he uses his political authority to show his audience the power he has to carry out his message when he says, “…as governor of our State… you stand with me… and we, together, can give courageous leadership to millions of people throughout this nation who look to the south for their hope in this fight to win and preserve our freedoms and liberties.” By saying this he is promising further segregation to the people who agree with him and showing that his segregationist sentiment will spread under his influence to the people who disagree with him. Again, he refers back to southern “heroes” as the foundation of his beliefs to establish authority; the people he references, like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, are already respected amongst his audience so if he shows that his ideals are founded by theirs then he has also gained respect and trust.

Finally, the timeliness of Wallace’s argument is essential to the effectiveness of his rhetorical devices. His purpose was to argue for the continuation of racial segregation in America and by using God and southern pride as the foundations of his argument he relied heavily on the place and time of his speech. The northern states of America would have widely disagreed and felt unconvinced by his argument; most people in America, around the world, and even Alabama would also disagree with Wallace’s argument today. When Wallace gave his speech (1963), segregation and racism were still very much supported and enforced in the southern states of America. Religion was much more reliable as a source of logic, authority, and emotional appeal. The south in America at this time was much less integrated with people from around the world and around America, so it was composed mostly of racist white people, who still looked to their confederate leaders and forefathers as a source of inspiration or pride. The minorities who did live in the south at the time (immigrants and black people) were very suppressed and were intimidated not to vote or speak up in their communities/politics.

In conclusion, George C. Wallace’s inaugural address was effective for his audience in the south of the 1960’s. By using religion, southern pride, and political authority as means of appealing to emotion, reasoning, and authority, Wallace effectively assured his audience of the message to continue segregation in America, specifically in the south.

Sources:

Newman, John J., and John M. Schmalbach. United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. 3rd ed., New York, Amsco School Publications, 2016.

Staff, History.com. “The 1960s.” History.com, A+E Networks, 2010, http://www.history.com/topics/1960s. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017.

Wallace, George C., Gov. “Inaugural Address.” Alabama Governor’s inauguration, 14 Jan. 1963, Montgomery, Alabama. Address.

Is the American Dream driven by love or desire?

The entire story of the Great Gatsby centers around Jay Gatsby’s desire to return to the loving state he once shared with Daisy. In addition to this central storyline, the other main characters exhibit desire through their own desires: Tom’s desire for more success as he already has money and a wife, Daisy’s desire for higher status and more material items, and Nick’s desire to be accepted by people in a higher class than he was born into. Desire drives the idea of the American dream, not love, as proven by Jay Gatsby and the surrounding characters in the Great Gatsby.

The American Dream is built from the idea of the “self- made man” which developed in the Gilded Age. During this time thousands of immigrants came to America because of the welcoming message of the Statue of Liberty; the Statue of Liberty was symbol to show that success is possible for everyone with hard work. This idea was also shared amongst lower class Americans who wanted to reach the status of higher class people. This was shown in the Great Gatsby by Nick, who came from a middle class family in the West and traveled to the East coast in order to become wealthy and acquire position in the upper class. He explains this on page 9 when he says, “Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe- so I decided to go East and learn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man.” Nick did not have a love for the bond business: he had a desire to acquire wealth and independence.

Hence, the American Dream is driven by desire. Jay Gatsby represents the American Dream in the Great Gatsby, along with the other main characters, because of the way he worked his way up to the top and achieved the classic “large suburban house, dazzling parties, high social status” American ideal that was the American Dream in the 1920’s. Jay Gatsby was driven by his desire for Daisy because of how unattainable his love for her was, as shown on pages 86-87 when Nick says, “There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams–not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.” Even if Gatsby loved Daisy, he more so was in love with the idea of her, with his illusions of her, with the memory of what they once were.

Even Nick (who is relatively objective and disconnected to the other characters throughout the book) knows that Gatsby is driven by an idea of a memory which is unattainable. On page 87, Nick says, “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was . . .” This is a good representation of people who desire the past; often they do so because they left a piece of themselves in the past and they wish to retrieve it. So of course Gatsby could not ‘find out what that thing was’ because that thing is his love for her which has been replaced by desire.

Desire is a state of being that can only be achieved if the thing being sought is not yet achieved. The green light at the end of Daisy and Tom Buchanan’s dock represented Gatsby’s desire for Daisy; he wanted to go back to the state of love which he and Daisy once had. It is impossible to return to a state of love that once was, just like how it is impossible to reach the green light at the end of the dock. This symbol is introduced when Nick first sees Gatsby on his front lawn on page 24, and he says: “…I didn’t call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.” The symbol of the dock shows that Gatsby’s “love” for Daisy is distant and surrounded by a desire for the idea of love.

Lastly, desire goes hand in hand with greed because once the person achieves what they seek they no longer have desire, so they strive for more to continue this lust for desire. Greed was exhibited through Daisy and Tom who constantly sought more. They both had already achieved wealth and love, but Daisy wanted material items and to raise her social standing in any way possible, and Tom wanted more love and respect. In chapter seven Nick said about Daisy’s voice: “I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it . . . High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl . . .” This shows that she was so driven by her desire for material wealth that her character/voice/personality has been shaped around it. Daisy has never had to struggle: she was born into a great amount of wealth and married into it young. Gatsby’s desire for Daisy forced him to strip himself of his own character and achieve wealth instead, in order to make Daisy love him as much as she once loved the idea of his wealth.

In conclusion, the Great Gatsby is a tale of desire mistaken for love. Love is only present when those who experience it are content in it, and none of the characters in the Great Gatsby are satisfied with their success or love. The characters are representative of the American Dream in this way, and the story of the Great Gatsby shows that the American Dream is driven by desire.

October 13, 2016: First Lady Michelle Obama addressing upcoming presidential election in response to Donald Trump’s treatment of women

Michelle Obama delivered her speech to New Hampshire, transcribed by NPR (October 13, 2016), about republican nominee Donald Trump’s alleged treatment of women only days after a tape of him talking about sexually assaulting women was released. Obama gave this speech this context, and in the context of the upcoming Election day. The speech could be considered a presidential speech- after all it is endorsing Hillary Clinton being elected president. However, it really is more of an inspirational speech, rallying up her audience; Obama is telling her audience to go out and vote, and to not let Donald Trump become the President.

Through rhetorically analyzing this speech, the audience is better able to understand messages and intentions, which are very important in modern politics and in presidential elections such as this one. The speech was very effective: Obama clearly used her authoritative power as the First Lady to convince the audience that she was worth listening to, it appealed to the fear and anger of the women in the crowd, and it appealed to the logic of those who want to vote for the more logical, qualified candidate.

From the beginning of her speech, Michelle Obama established her authority (or ethos) of being First Lady as the speaker. The first anecdote used was an event held at the White House, and throughout the speech she refers to her and Barack Obama’s law degrees. At the end of the speech, she convinces the audience that every vote counts by referring to Mr. Obama’s election. Most of her authority in this speech, however, comes from her experience as a woman. The speech was a response to Trump’s alleged treatment of women, therefore it was directed at women- So the most effective speaker would be a woman. Obama uses this, constantly referring to the audience as “we,” and saying “us women.” This causes the audience to feel comfortable and agreeable with Obama’s message, and like she personally cares about them. For example, referring to Trump’s comments she said, “And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect.” This kind of language and personal connection to the audience makes the listeners feel like Obama has their best interest in mind, and that listening to her message will benefit them. The audience is more likely to trust her, and follow her lead.

Nonetheless, the event that Obama spoke of at the beginning of her speech which was held at the White House, was the celebration of the International Day of the Girl and Let Girls Learn. This set up her audience very effectively (using pathos). At the beginning she said, “And we talked about their hopes and dreams. We talked about their aspirations. See, because many of these girls have faced unthinkable obstacles just to attend school, jeopardizing their personal safety, their freedom, risking the rejection of their families and communities.” Throughout the speech she referred to women’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This repetition helped the audience to keep a theme in their minds about women and what they face to be successful; The obstacles and risking of personal safety she refers to is an appeal to the audience’s fear. The concern in Obama’s speech is directed at the idea that people like Trump are the basis of women’s obstacles, and that if he becomes president women will be in danger. Not only that, Obama says, but also the men in this country are in danger of being influenced by Trump.

Those concerns are expressed effectively with strong diction when Obama says, “This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behaviour, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.”

Michelle Obama also appealed to the logic (or logos) of the audience. She told an anecdote about how someone’s six-year-old son decided that because Trump called someone a piggy, he should not be president. Obama stated, “So even a six-year-old knows better. A six-year-old knows that this is not how adults behave. This is not how decent human beings behave. And this is certainly not how someone who wants to be President of the United States behaves.” In this quote, not only is Obama appealing to the audience’s sense of logic, but she is also using parallel structure in her sentences to give her message more emphasis. Also, she lays out her speech logically: Criticizing Donald Trump’s comments and breaking down the negative affects his presidency would have on America (negative tone); And then, slowly uplifting the audience with Hillary Clinton’s opposing views and outcomes; Finally, she ended with the inspirational message to vote for the woman that will protect everyone, who will make a difference, who will more our country forward.

In conclusion, Michelle Obama effectively delivered the right message to the right crowd; Using logos, pathos, and ethos, while incorporating repetition, parallel structure, and diction into those strategies. Her message was in the context of her audience and the events that had recently taken place. Obama used her authority as a politician, woman, parent, and professional to convey her message effectively: Vote for Hillary Clinton, because a leadership figure such as Donald Trump is dangerous to our community.

Pigs for Power

As Napoleon transforms from a hero who saved his “comrades” to a ruthless leader, every reader is forced to question power and the effect it has on those who achieve it. In Animal Farm by George Orwell, the pig, Napoleon, assumes power over the rest of the animals. He eventually becomes a harsher and more dictatorial leader than the original farmer who took care of the animals. Was this version of power always the goal for Napoleon, or did it occur naturally through corruption as he gained control? What qualities of a person (or in this case an animal) determine whether or not they are a leader? Why do we trust our leaders so easily? What causes people to strive for power? I struggle to find answers within history, philosophy and reading.

An important concept in World History is power corruption, which has ruined almost every revolution, successful society, and great leader. Studying all of these successes and eventual failures, I question whether power corruption is a natural occurrence, or if everyone who comes to power happens to share qualities which make them corrupted in the first place. Certain personalities offer themselves to leadership. For example, natural confidence is a necessity. Intelligence and hard work often play a role, along with dominating tendencies, and unique ideas. Clover, the cow, reflected on this rise to dominance as she with her fellow animals looking out over the farm: “These scenes of terror and slaughter were not what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major first stirred them to rebellion.” (page 61)

There is a common occurrence in history where someone starts a revolution with wild new ideas. They are inspired by the poverty or oppression around them usually starting at the bottom. As they rise to power, the people who originally supported them realize that they are corrupt or have more extreme ideas than originally expected. By then it is too late, and that leader is left to dominate over the people they once suffered with. Most recent examples of this are Fidel Castro with the Cuban revolution and Stalin with the Russian revolution. It is too late because people are threatened by the powerful figure at that point. They are threatened by the idea of helplessness without that person’s leadership. They feel threatened by themselves and the people around them, and find comfort in leadership. For example, when the leaders of Animal Farm become so cruel that it dignifies another revolution, the animals are unable to revolt without the leadership of the pigs (the corrupt leaders). So, why is it that these particular people happen to be the ones to rise to power?

People can be classified as “leaders” or “followers.” The world makes us think that we should be leaders. However, some people do not want to be “leaders.” Followers can change the world, and leaders can go their whole lives without making a difference. We all go about our lives striving for power, even in the smallest of ways. As humans we feel to need to have power over something, even if it is something as small as a flower in our garden. The difference between “leaders” and “followers” is that leaders feel this need to have power over people, and are able to control others to satisfy this need.

Whether powers corrupts people (or the people who achieve it are prone to corruption) we may never know for sure. Through reading stories like Animal Farm, we can discover what power means to us and to society, but there will never be a certain answer. After many successes and failures in government, we have figured out ways to avoid destructive corruption. We can control power, or we can let power control us. One good thing about America is that we have figured out how to control power. For the most part, at least.

The Tongue Survives

The story of “La Malinche” tells the legend of Malinalli, The Tongue (translator) for the Spaniards as Cortes colonized the Aztecs. Malinalli was a survivor from birth to death, through all of her experiences as a slave, treks through Mexico with Cortes, and battles between her people and her allies. I will never experience the amount of pain and victory that Malinalli went through, but everyone who lives endures pain and victory in different ways. The story of La Malinche can guides us to make a great story of our sorrow.

In the beginning when Malinalli is being birthed, the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck like a serpent, which also happened to me. My mother was told not to push because it would choke me, but animal instinct told her drive me out. Malinalli’s grandmother was ready to cut her out, which would have killed her, but Malinalli pushed through and came out alive, as did I. “Grandmother shouted like a warrior to let everyone know that her daughter- in- law, a great fighter, had come out victorious in the battle between life and death.” (pg. 5) I felt a connection to this quote, because I can imagine the victorious spirit in my loved ones after my successful birth. This is clearly included in the book as a foreshadowing to her victorious triumph over death during fatal battles and adventures. If this was the true story of Malinalliś birth, then it was either a spectacular coincidence or a great anticipation to her future. Perhaps Malinalli was so inspired to survive later in life because she remembered the story of her birth and felt the need to continue the legacy. Nonetheless, this was a great passage to intrigue the reader about the survivor in Malinalli, which was continued later in the story.

I was continuously amazed at the courage and strength exhibited by Malinalli in every moment of her life. Repeatedly sold as a slave, faced with life changing and world altering decisions far too early in life, forced to face the consequences of her trust, struggling to find a place where her heart feels safe. Although my situation is no comparison to hers, any teenager can relate to the feeling of being lost in a world where the decisions we face feel far beyond our control. ¨Migration is an act of survival. Malinalli wished she could have relied on the lightness of butterflies and migrated on time, flown through the high skies, far above the clouds, where she would not have to hear the weeping and lamenting, where you could not distinguish the mutilated corpses, the rivers of blood, the smell of death.” (pg. 92) Malinalli imagines this because she constantly has to survive all of those sorrowful situations, and she wants a way out. I relate to her state of anxiety, and I often find my escape in literature and music, imagining a world free of disaster and misery where I can be free.

At Malinalli’s death, she was also reborn. She became one with all of eternity, all of the universe, everything living and everything dead. This was a symbol of survival, because it showed us that even through death she survived in spirit. Malinalli dies on her own terms, and is immediately merged with the universe by being struck by lightning. “At that moment, a bolt of lightning, a silver tongue, lit the sky, heralding a storm and filling with light the still body of Malinalli, who had died instantaneously some moments before. Her eyes were absorbed by the stars, which immediately knew everything that she had seen on earth.” (pg. 185) Even though many of us believe in an afterlife, or in the simple decomposition of our body with no existence after death, we all wish to be remembered somehow by the world we experience every day. Malinalli had a story that we will never forget, a story that will influence the world for centuries after her death. The absorption of her eyes into the stars is a symbol of her legend on the earth and the way she will always “look over” us and influence the human race.

La Malinche was a magnificent story to warn us against ourselves. Malinalli learned through all of her adventures and moments facing death that she is a survivor. I learned through Malinalli what is truly means to survive and to thrive, and I will carry on this story by conquering my own plights.

A Quest Seeking Wisdom

Life has no meaning, unless one gives a purpose to himself. According to Sartre, man feels alien in a world without meaning. Therefore, we must have a life long quest for our purpose. It is essential to have a quest, and any quest is a quest for wisdom. A person must always undergo a quest to find wisdom.

Siddhartha exhibits this need to find wisdom when he went on a path to self- discovery. “He learned to walk away from the I. He walked the path of self- distancing through pain, through volunteering, enduring of suffering and vanquishing of pain, hunger, of thirst, of exhaustion.” (page 15) Siddhartha found wisdom through “self- distancing.” Suffering is a part of any discovery, and Siddhartha went through this to fully experience the world. He needed to fully experience the world in order to truly understand himself. Siddhartha acquired the wisdom of the world by experiencing suffering, and later, joy.

Vasudeva exemplified another form of wisdom. As Siddhartha told Vasudeva his story, with all of his joys and suffering, he was also admiring Vasudeva’s wisdom of listening. “Among all the ferryman’s virtues this was one of the greatest: he understood how to listen as very few did. Vasudeva spoke not a word himself, and yet the speaker sensed how he allowed the speaker’s words to enter him, with tranquility, openly, waiting, how he lost not a one, waiting without impatience, without praise or blame, simply listening. Siddhartha felt what a joy it is to tell everything, to sink one’s own life, one’s own seeking, one’s own suffering into such a listener’s heart.” (page …) Vasudeva later explained that his wisdom comes from listening to the river and he later shows Siddhartha this wisdom. When he listens to the river, it is within his constant quest for wisdom.

When Siddhartha leaves Govinda for self discovery, he realizes that he must always be on the quest to find wisdom. “Blue was blue, river was river, and if the one and the divine also lay concealed in the blue and in the river and in Siddhartha, it was just the nature and meaning of the divine to be yellow here, blue here, there sky, there forest, and here Siddhartha. Meaning and essence were not somewhere behind things, they were inside things, in everything.” (page 35) Siddhartha recognized that the quest for wisdom is constant, because wisdom (as he says “meaning and essence”) is in everything.

In this book, Siddhartha is clearly constantly on a quest to find wisdom. Most people today, or even back then, do not live the lifestyle he lived: Solely dedicated to the quest to find wisdom. However, even if we are not on his same path, we must always be on a quest to find wisdom, no matter what kind of wisdom we seek.

Car Crash

It happened so fast; All I remember is before and after. Those moments, I will definitely recollect for the rest of my life. Before was ever so unsuspecting. The crash itself, no matter how many times I think about it, or thought about it in the following months, I could not recall a single millisecond of the actual collision. What it sounded like, what it felt like, what I saw.

I remember the hot Texas sun beating down on me, sitting in the passenger seat, the smell of an old car air conditioner lingering. I remember getting in the car, thinking about my destination, which was Tae Kwon Do. We had just started going to the adult classes and I was solely worried about the difficult workout to follow. Not to mention, I had to go pee. I was worried about holding it, in the Austin traffic. I was reading one of my comfort books, City of Glass, from The Mortal Instruments Series, and listening to book-reading-music, “Cruel World,” by Lana del Rey.

My step mother, Sloan, asked my little brother, Tarak, if he had his seatbelt on because he was laying down to nap. No reply. She looked back to check on him, and took her foot off the break for just a second. I was focusing on my book, when suddenly my face stung and burned as if someone had slapped me a thousand times.

I don’t remember putting my hands up to cover my face, but they were there, and I thought if I took them away, I would be in more pain. I kept them there, while screaming and screaming and screaming. We pulled over, and Sloan told me to take my hands off my face. When I did, they were soaked in tears I didn’t know I had shed. Tarak was unhurt and so was Sloan. The ambulance ride felt years long and my eyes were being repeatedly washed out. They asked me what my pain level was from one to ten and I said seven. The fear made me forget how badly I had to pee.

At the hospital, they made me take off my clothes and put on a gown. The car was totalled, but it was old and we were planning on getting a new one soon anyway. My dad joked, “If you wanted a car so badly, you should’ve just told me.” They tested my eyesight (which was blurry, but only the paramedics promised it was only temporary), and they gave me multiple eye ointments and drops to use for the following week or so. Finally as we were checking out, I was able to pee.

The next day I went shopping and spent the night with my friends, and they almost made me forget about it. The only reminders were the fading sting on my face and the annoyingly sympathetic looks. The worst part was that every time I thought about it, I wanted to cry, and it just kept popping up in my mind at the worst times, like when someone asked me politely about it, or when I got startled in any way. At night I purposefully tried to think about the accident to get it out of my system. That did not work. All I could think about was the actual crash. The part I couldn’t remember. That drove me crazy. When I tried to remember the few milliseconds of collision that actually happened, I was hit with the image of me screaming with my hands covering my face, burning and hurting.

I remember when I was younger, I would jump out and scare my older brother. Whenever he tried to scare me, I didn’t get startled. I loved how frustrated he would get. For months after the crash, any loud noise or risky turn in a car startled me to where I wanted to cry. It still has an effect on me today. I remember seeing the heartbroken look on my brother’s face when I got startled from the loud clap of someone’s hands.
I will never be able to recall a single second of our car hitting the one on front of us, or the airbag hitting my face and then deflating, or the chemicals exploding into and burning my eye. The memories of screaming with my hands over my face wet with tears, the ambulance ride, stinging pain on my upper right cheek, and disgustingly pitiful looks, however, will haunt me forever.