Robert F. Kennedy's The Mindless Menace Of Violence

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Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, a New York senator at the time, delivered a speech to the Cleveland City Club, lamenting the prejudice and hatred that killed Dr. King. In his speech, Kennedy appeals to ethos, utilizes metaphors, and employs 3rd person point of view to advance his purpose of how American society fosters prejudice and how, as a nation, they must change their ways to see any significant changes. Ethos plays a unique role in The Mindless “Menace of Violence”. Although it is prevalent in the essay, it’s most important components are never outrightly stated; rather it is understood through background knowledge and analysis. If the Kennedy name were to call to mind anyone in…show more content…
Kennedy aimed to get at most in his speech was the idea of unity; in writing “The Mindless Menace of Violence”, RFK’s audience movement was to take American’s away from the idea that differences were faults, and that deviating from the “ideal race” was dangerous and to be punished. By using 1st person, 1st person plural, and 2nd person, he creates a sense of “us” rather than a sense of “them”. In paragraph one, he uses both 2nd person and 1st person plural in one sentence, “I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.” By beginning with 2nd person, RFK separates himself from the American public, establishing himself as the one to deliver the wake up call for change, and then reconnects himself to the audience by switching to 1st person plural and showing that senseless violence must be addressed by all Americans to form any real change. Paragraph 11 also houses a significant change in point of view: “When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues[.]”. Kennedy uses “you” to represent American society; particularly those who promote inequality and prejudice. This point of view also connects to his purpose that hatred is so often taught in American culture. In paragraph 12, RFK again switches back into 1st person plural, going on to
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