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. 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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