Rhetorical Analysis Of Macarthur's Speech

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On May 12, 1962, the United States Military Academy, commonly called West Point, bestowed the Thayer Award on General Douglas MacArthur. The award was a tribute to MacArthur’s courage and leadership in the United States Army. That day at West Point, his alma mater, he delivered a speech that has become a tribute to the American soldier. The speech is rhythmic, almost poetical. He employs several rhetorical tools to enhance his words. Martha Kolln defines cohesion as, “the connections between sentences” (295). She suggests that a writer can use different tactics to achieve cohesion such as repetition and parallelism. Repetition, “a technique for strengthening the continuity of text with key words,” (Kolln 301) can be achieved in paragraphs,…show more content…
There is repetition of phrases, words, and letters in every paragraph. The West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country,” appears in the speech seven times, four of which are repeated in the last few paragraphs. He repeats a series of words when he writes, “Those hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be” (para.3). This repeated use of the words “what, you, and be,” creates a rhythm that he further emphasizes by leaving out a conjunction after the last comma. That minimal pause could break the rhythm even though it would be grammatically correct. He commonly uses alliteration, the repetition of consonant sounds, when choosing adjectives. He writes, “As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud. . .” (para. 8). He not only uses alliteration as in “dripping dusk and drizzling dawn,” he also uses assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds, in “sludge and mud.” This repetition of sounds adds a new dimension to the descriptions. It not only creates a picture in the mind, it also creates harmony in the
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