The following is a brief summary of our analysis of Michelle Obama's Commencement Address.
The main topics of Obama's speech are education and discrimination, which she often combines to talk about discrimination within the field of education, both historically and currently.
The speaker is Michelle Obama, who was the First Lady of the United states at the time of the Address, because she is married to then-President Barack Obama. Her audience is primarily the 2013 graduates of Bowie University, but the speech was also shared through various media, so its actual audience is much wider. Obama is specifically trying to address young people across the US, especially African Americans.
Obama's language is conversational in style, with many interjections that make the speech appear less formal and more intimate. Rhetorically she uses a number of allusions and often appeals to ethos and pathos when trying to get her message across.
The circumstances of the speech are two-fold. Formally, the speech is made in response to students graduating from Bowie University, but more broadly the speech addresses a situation in which there are still significant inequalities between White Americans and African Americans in the field of education.
Obama's overall intention is to convince the current generation of African American youths that higher education is a worthwhile pursuit and that they ought to fight for it just like their ancestors have done historically.
You can read our in-depth analysis on the following pages.
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