Rhetorical Analysis Of The Age Of Great Dreams

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As David Farber illustrates in The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s, “Between the summer of 1964, when the Johnson administration achieved passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and the April 1965 antiwar rally, the American combat role in Vietnam had escalated greatly” (141). In the mid 1960s, a bloody and violent war was in full swing overseas between Vietnamese and American soldiers. On the American home front though, citizens of the US began to question whether it was wise to remain in the war or pull American troops back home. Two major groups began to spring up: advocates for the war and those against it. The two sides were as passionate as they were devise. Each opposing side had forerunning leaders, who sought to persuade …show more content…

In regards to the way American soldiers treated Vietnamese citizens King says, “They watch as we poison their water… They wander into the towns, and see thousands of the children, homeless without clothes… They see the children degraded by our soldiers… They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers.” Through his usage of incredibly horrific imagery, King utilizes the method of pathos to his ultimate advantage. Through his words, King paints a vivid picture of the horrors American soldiers were committing in Vietnam. This use of emotional appeal causes American citizens to feel compassion towards Vietnamese victims. Therefore, listeners would feel compelled to pull American troops from Vietnam in order to put a stop to the atrocities being committed there. His words remain emotional, while still providing facts as to why he believes the war is causing more harm than is necessary. Those who favor Johnson’s support of the war would argue that Johnson does not need to rely on the persuasive methods of pathos in order to convince people that the Vietnam War is essential to the survival of America. Instead, Johnson utilizes logos, and carries his arguments through facts. In regards to the American agenda of political change in Vietnam Johnson says, “Certainly there is a positive movement towards a constitutional government. Thus far …show more content…

The function of anaphora is to add a pattern to speech, making the words more rhythmic and appealing to hear (Anaphora). For example, King says, “We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non communist … political force, the unified Buddhist Church … We have corrupted their women and children…” By using repetition of the word “we” King forces accountability onto the American people as a whole. This inclusion of the entire country, and not just American troops, causes people to feel responsible for the soldiers. Furthermore, this constant and repetitive use of the word “we” causes people to feel more united. In order to feel less collective guilt, listeners would be persuaded to rally alongside King to pull American forces from the war. Johnson also utilizes this rhetoric technique, and those who are persuaded by Johnson would argue that he uses anaphora more effectively than King. For example, Johnson states, “I am ready to talk with Ho Chi Minh … tomorrow. I am ready to have Secretary Rusk meet with their foreign minister … tomorrow. I am ready to send a trusted representative of America to any spot on this earth … to talk with a spokesman of Hanoi.” While Johnson does use repetition to make his argument more compelling, his constant use of the word “I” causes him - and his argument - to seem isolated. King, however,

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