Rhetorical devices

Allusion and direct references

In his Inaugural Address, John F. Kennedy makes a direct reference to the Old Testament’s Book of Isaiah: “Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah – to ‘undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free’ ” (ll. 111-113). Through this reference, Kennedy might be referring to communism and its influence over people who are oppressed by the authoritarian ideology. 

Kennedy makes another religious reference when he talks about “rejoicing in hope, [and being] patient in tribulation” (l. 137). This structure is a reference to an excerpt from Romans 12:12. Here, Kennedy promises American citizens that patience is key when it comes to fighting communism. 

Kennedy also alludes to the Truman Doctrine when he addresses the United Nations

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, (…) we renew our pledge of support – to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective – to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak – and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run. (ll. 67-73)

Here, the reference reminds the audience of the Truman Doctrine, whi...

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