Rhetorical Analysis: Clare Boothe Luce

909 Words4 Pages

Alaina May
Mr. Ritcher
AP Lang
21 February 2023
Heavily Critical and Mean to One’s Morals, Respectfully In her speech to the Women’s National Press Club, it might be perceived that Clare Boothe Luce is directly attacking her audience and everything they stand for. However, the heavy criticism in her rhetoric is laid out in a more witty, almost sarcastic tone to lighten the message and express it in such a way that builds her credibility from the very introduction of the speech, allowing her argument to become all the more successful. Luce humorously puts the blame of this attack on the audience for inviting her to speak, immediately lightening the tone. The way she directly addresses the audience and their characteristics forces the audience’s …show more content…

She describes journalism as “the effort to achieve illuminating candor in print and to strip away cant” (lines 27-28). By portraying her audience in such a respected light and also by using the exact and scholastic words that are likely more favorable to the audience, Luce shows a personal acknowledgement and appreciation of who she is speaking to. “No audience knows better than an audience of journalists that the pursuit of the truth, and the articulation of it, is the most delicate, hazardous, exacting, and inexact of tasks. Consequently, no audience is more forgiving (I hope) to the speaker who fails or stumbles in his own pursuit of it” (lines 41-47). By comparing herself to the very thing is criticizing, she demonstrates a humility that only builds her ethos. Moreover, the words in which she describes the tasks of both herself and the rest of the press make her criticism more forgivable. Although mostly common words, they are technical to the careers of the audience she is addressing. Wisely, she does this prior to breaking down the failure of the to adhere to such a noble effort as she described. In only her first few words, Luce has both built a trust in herself because she is a journalist as well. This allows the audience to feel the weight of the mistakes as a personal thing, rather than shutting down from the criticism underlying the relateable word …show more content…

“I know, then, that you will bear with me, much as it may go against your professional grain, if I ask you to accept some of the good with the bad” (lines 54-55). There is a certain resolution in her choice of the word “know” and an absoluteness that would normally be considered unwise. But in Luce’s case, she expresses a certainty in her argument that even if it was not previously present in the audience, certainly should be now. She has previously built her credibility so the audience is more likely to trust what she thinks and feels, even as she is telling them how they should feel. It exemplifies a profound inherent confidence that only strengthens the

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