How do the speeches of Shoghi Effendi, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey inspire hope through the creative use of rhetoric?

Retorikk og håp er tema for vinner av tredjepremien i Ungdomskonkurransen Fritt Ord 2011.

Tala Kata­ri­na Ram fra Inter­na­tion­al School of Sta­vanger vant tred­jepremien i 2011-utgaven av Fritt Ord-konkur­ransen for ung­dom med et arbeid om “håpets retorikk” hos tre ulike talere. Vox Pub­li­ca pre­sen­ter­er her Rams egen opp­sum­mer­ing av arbei­det. Du kan også laste ned bidraget i sin hel­het (pdf).


This essay inves­ti­gates how the speech­es of Shoghi Effen­di, Barack Oba­ma, and Oprah Win­frey inspire hope through the cre­ative use of rhetoric.

In a world where there are count­less tragedies, it is dif­fi­cult to main­tain hope. All around us we can see destruc­tion and vio­lence, be it in the ani­mosi­ties of life, or in humankind itself. With such an atti­tu­di­nal cli­mate, there might be rea­son to allow for the most griev­ous of emo­tions: Despair. As a coun­ter­part to hope, despair saps the very moti­va­tion that hope inspires, mak­ing our atti­tude apa­thet­ic and our out­look that much more trag­ic. It is not sur­pris­ing, then, that the world lead­ers of this day and age look to Hope for the way for­ward. For as the peo­ples of the world teth­er at the edge of despair, it is to the inspi­ra­tional lead­ers in var­i­ous roles they turn to seek hope and com­bat their despair.

Tala Kata­ri­na Ram vant tred­jepremien i Fritt Ord-konkur­ransen (foto: Konkur­ransen Unge Forskere)

Three such lead­ers are Shoghi Effen­di as a spir­i­tu­al leader, Barack Oba­ma as a polit­i­cal leader, and Oprah Win­frey as a social leader, as deter­mined by the media and pop­u­lar cul­ture of Amer­i­ca. This essay inves­ti­gates how each leader accom­plish­es their com­mon goal of inspir­ing hope by var­i­ous rhetoric devices. This is done through an in-depth study of the lit­er­ary devices used in their speech­es and how these devices help con­vey the speak­ers’ mes­sage of hope to their audi­ences. The essay explores the var­i­ous tech­niques used to inspire, where some are reoc­cur­ring, while oth­ers remain unique to that spe­cif­ic speak­er. Shoghi Effen­di uses roman­tic lan­guage such as chival­rous images to inspire, where­as Oba­ma, uses cul­tur­al­ly spe­cif­ic allu­sions, such as his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences to events and doc­u­men­ta­tion, and Oprah Win­frey in turn tends to use per­son­al anec­dotes to inspire her audi­ence. Although vary­ing approach­es are imple­ment­ed, each speak­er accom­plish­es their ulti­mate aim of inspir­ing hope, occa­sion­al­ly shar­ing tech­niques, such as par­al­lelism, to help them do so. Through the analy­sis of their speech­es to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, it can be seen how they effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate a long-last­ing mes­sage of hope intend­ed to last through­out mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions to come. In a world in sore need of inspi­ra­tional lead­ers, these three have found the words to draw peo­ple into their mes­sage of hope, each play­ing a role in por­tray­ing a reward­ing future, which, despite dif­fi­cul­ties and hard­ships, is worth work­ing for, and sup­port­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple in main­tain­ing hope.

In this way, the essay con­cludes that the lan­guage and rhetoric is used by Shoghi Effen­di, Barack Oba­ma, and Oprah Win­frey to con­vey the impor­tance and val­ue of main­tain­ing hope, and stim­u­lat­ing a vision of the future which is main­tained along with the moti­va­tion to actu­al­ly work for a brighter future. 



arack O




  1. Grat­ulerer kjære Tala og lykke til videre

  2. Dear Tala

    How true you have been to your­self! A won­der­ful arti­cle and one that can inspire oth­er great women and men lead­ers in our soci­ety to be agents of change as you have been and are for the junior youth in our society.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dear Tala, very well writ­ten and expressed. You always had a way with words and I am sure you will some­day inspire hope to a whole gen­er­a­tion of youth. 

    So hap­py for you,

  4. Behnam A. says:

    Dear Tala joon,
    Amaz­ing what You have acquired. It is not easy to writh down what I real­ly want to say, but I can tell you how lucky we are to have you in our life. We are very hap­py and proud of you and your achieved­men. You are an inspi­ra­tion to all of us.
    your par­ents are also an exam­ple and role mod­el for the Baha’i community
    Tala joon. Thank you for shar­ing your heart touch­ing Sto­rie with us i had tears in my eyes, when I read it.Du er vært 100 miljon­er kameler :-.

    Thak you again.
    :-) Behnam with family

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