Former president John F. Kennedy left a permanent mark on the world we live in, and his time has been reminisced upon by many. One of these many is the influential president Ronald Reagan, who delivered a speech about his views and opinions of Kennedy at his fundraising event on June 24, 1985. Reagan had to encourage the event attendees to donate to an endowment fund, requiring his speech to be solid and persuasive.  Reagan reeled in the hearts of the listeners by implementing rhetorical language devices into his speech, such as pathos and metaphor.

Throughout the speech, Ronald Reagan uses the rhetorical device of pathos to connect emotionally with his audience. Examples of this can be found in paragraph 10, in which he states, “And when he died, when that comet disappeared over the continent, a whole nation grieved and would not forget.” Reagan describes the sadness that fell upon the American nation after Kennedy’s passing and refers to the image of a comet flashing by. The comet symbolizes the influence Kennedy’s extraordinary life carried, and when he passed, it was like a comet flew by and disappeared into the night sky.

Reagan also states, “‘They cried the rain down that night,’ said a journalist in Europe.” and “They put his picture up in huts in Brazil and tents in the Congo, in offices in Dublin and Warsaw.” Reagan describes actions taken by countries worldwide reacting to former president Kennedy’s death. He does this to portray the global affection and appreciation towards Kennedy and how Kennedy served as a leader for all people. This use of pathos would strike the audience of Reagan’s speech, causing them to acknowledge Kennedy’s presence around the world and feel more inclined to donate to a global cause.

Comparison always assists people in understanding a concept in more depth. Reagan makes use of many comparisons, specifically metaphors, throughout his speech to put Kennedy in the spotlight as an influential person and former president. An example of this can be seen in paragraph 10, in which Reagan states, “I was for the other fellow. But you know, it’s true: when the battle’s over, and the ground is cooled, well, it’s then that you see the opposing general’s valor.” Reagan is describing how his opinions of Kennedy running for president were originally unsupportive and how he realized his true personality and heart after Kennedy was elected.

Reagan compares the election to a battle, delivering the message that in the heat of politics, the competition and nationwide pressure cloud any genuine interaction and acknowledgment of true character. Reagan also states in paragraph 15 “Nothing is ever lost in that great house; some music plays on.” Speaking to people who are learning history or who fail to value history, Reagan gives a comparison to music.  He refers to the White House as “the great house” and the remaining influential history of Kennedy as music that will always continue playing. Reagan uses this comparison to increase his listeners’ perception of history and to increase the chances of donations for history’s preservation.

President Ronald Raegan employs pathos and metaphor in his address to mourners of former president John F. Kennedy, to create a reverent tone that he uses to pay his tribute to a great man taken too soon, and to encourage donations for Kennedy’s preservation in history.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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