President John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address, illuminates on what he believes is the purpose and the obligations of the American people. JFK’s purpose is to unify the people under his new presidency and make peace with the world.
He adopts a patriotic tone in order to present himself as someone similar to the previous presidents so the world and the older generations can see that he is the rightful pick as president. In the earlier part of JFK’s Inaugural Speech, Kennedy uses a lot of antithesis in his writing. Antithesis is an important part of what he is saying because it allows him to place contrasting ideas together and underline the complexities in them.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
After acknowledging multiple important people in office and then citizens of the U.S., JFK opens the speech with the line, “…we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom”. By placing this line of speech in the beginning, he is getting the people watching and listening to his speech excited because he is talking about freedom which people have fought for in the past many years.
With this line Kennedy is also emphasizing on the “celebration” of unity because he is trying to unify America now that he is the new president. Another famous use of antithesis by Kennedy was, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. These words captivate the audience and embodies Kennedy’s message of idea throughout his whole speech. With these lines, JFK is appealing to Pathos because he is trying to bring everyone together by using their patriotic sense of duty and nationalism. Another way in which Kennedy tries to talk about unity within his speech is his use of syntax. Kennedy proceeds to talking abut unity between the American people to a more global unity. With the repetition of “Let both sides…” he expresses his want for unity and peace.
As he continues to use this we talks about different countries and how we shouldn’t be fighting in wars but prospering peace by coming together. By saying that with peace great things can come out of it, Kennedy also begins the use of parallelism. Kennedy states he is willing to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, oppose any foe”. This line shows Kennedy’s willingness to do anything it takes to make sure America remains strong and stand up for what they believe in.
A big part of how Kennedy is able to get people to listen to what he is saying and get to the point is with his sentence structure. His variety of sentence lengths allows him to get to the main point of what he trying to express without people dosing off at how long it is. However, Kennedy also use longer sentences as to be more descriptive so others can better understand what he is trying to get across. As well, Kennedy uses ellipses when he mentions “a celebration of freedom- symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning- signifying renewal, as well as change”. With the use of ellipses, Kennedy strengthens his statement on the celebration of freedom. With a new beginning of him as president there is also a new beginning of freedom alongside change. Additionally, Kennedy uses the rhetorical appeal of ellipses when he read, “This much we pledge- and more”. By saying “and more”, Kennedy shows how he expects the people to do more to achieve unity and freedom than just the things he listed out.
By omitting all the things he could have told the people to do it helped his speech feel like more than just some guy making laws or rules that they have to do. Of all of the Inaugural speeches made by the presidents over the years, Kennedy’s remains an impressive and important part of literature today. With his use of rhetorical appeals such as alliteration and anaphora, Kennedy puts together the importance of unity and peace between the nations. As well as his use of “we” Kennedy shows us how we are all linked together by patriotism for America and how we can keep it is by working together. Kennedy’s address effectively showed his passion for achieving world peace the duty of each person to obtain it.