Rhetorical Analysis Of Challenger Speech

953 Words 4 Pages
Part 1: Part I: Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation in Ronald Reagan’s Challenger Address
There was a significant loss of seven people during a space shuttle explosion on January 28, 1986. Ronald Reagan was originally supposed to deliver the State of Union Address, but after the unfortunate happenstance of the Challenger, he instead gave a short speech, in respect to the loss of the seven challenger members. Rhetorical and contextual information will be discussed and analyzed throughout the rest of this essay.
The occasion is one of the four main components of a rhetorical situation. Expectations were high when American was leading the country in terms of space programs. One could say that everyone was proud to be an “American” and part of
…show more content…
The American nation was ultimately the main audience during the Challenger speech. As aforementioned, high expectations were assumed of the Challenger mission and was a proud moment for America. Though, due to this failure, Reagan had to address his audience in specific way and at a personal level. Reagan started using words like, “our” and “we” which gave the American citizens (or audience) a sense of contribution to the matter at hand. He would also say things like, “We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country” (Reagan, 1986) to unify and connect the sad emotions the nation had. Also, by using this technique, he speaks to the citizens, he mourns with them, like a person and less like a president doing his duty, which gave an effect of empathy. Even though President Reagan knew that this is a tragedy that he needs to try his best to prevent, he stayed mindful of letting his audience know that he mourns and feels their …show more content…
There is a lot of emotion from the audience and the speaker must appeal to all of them – which can potentially be a tricky thing if you’re not careful. Reagan could really sympathize and mourn for the losses that the country had lost, throughout his speech. Throughout the speech, president Reagan could sympathize and mourn for the losses that the country has lost that day. They said that Reagan was surprised and shocked (Weinraub, 1986). Using inclusive words, such as, “we”, in a repetitive manner appealed to the audience’s emotions and allowed Reagan to emphasize the fact that they were all mourning for the loss, which made the audience feel part of this mission. I also feel, since this was broadcasted live, that his facial expressions were playing a key role in his speech. Also, as his speech was broadcasted through live television, I feel his facial expression played a role in the speech. It was important what facial expressions he made. He was able to keep good eye contact with the camera, making it appear that he was talking to every American citizen who was watching it live. His facial expressions showed one of sadness and shock which played a vital role because if someone was smiling, they would not be able to empathize with the audience in this situation. President Reagan showed a unique style of connection with his grieving audience and also showed honesty, which

Related Documents