Rhetorical Analysis Of Clare Boothe Luce's Speech

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The speech given by Clare Boothe Luce to the Women’s National Press Club was controversial and even condemning of her audience. However, Luce pulls it off by gently preparing the audience for the criticism: she employs the fact that they invited her there to speak, a strong consideration for their feelings, praises of their profession, and a clear plea for open mindedness. She does things to create a peaceful and relaxed tone despite her words. She opens the speech with a paradox about being happy and enlightened; first saying she is “flattered” and honored, then she flips her original statement saying she is “less happy than you may think” (lines 3-4). Luce uses these positive terms to open her speech in order to set a specific mood, a mood that makes her intentions clear that she is not out to verbally assault the audience, but she is in fact going to critique and criticize them. After this is shared however, she explains that this situation is difficult for her to share, lightening the future mood and giving it a base. Luce gives her audience signs that her speech is not going to be positive, however, she makes sure to remind her audience that they have asked for her opinion on what is wrong with the American press, and that this opportunity is an honor.…show more content…
She acknowledges her own position which “exposes the follies and sins of her listeners” (12-13), and gives them a slight idea of the criticism that is to come by comparing herself to an arbitrary “banquet speaker” . She then shares some humour by saying that she is not the best candidate for “the delicate art of giving an audience hell” but perhaps public figures Billy Grahams and Bishop Sherry would succeed at it. Her light hearted yet disparaging approach makes the audience more likely to accept her claims, or at least hear her
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