Kennedy address

The youthful energy found in John F. Kennedy's speech is evident throughout. He had just won a long hard fought campaign, yet chose not to focus on the policies that helped him win specifically. The goals he has are illustrated in strong appeals to emotion, by making a connection with the everyday American citizen. He personalizes his speech in looking forward to the future while using the past as an example.
Kennedy remains active with his words by never relenting on the main goal he has of unison between two opposing forces. In talking about all that he must deal with as a president and global icon striving for peace, he states, "I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it," near the end of the speech. This shows his persistence as a leader and allows listeners to hear the strength of this determination. He shares his energy with the people, claiming that the goals of a better world can be attained if only effort by everyone is given. The activism in his words can most clearly be seen when he focuses on what both sides can do to solve the problem. His ultimate goal of peace between opposing forces becomes evident in his idea to, "bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations." "Absolute" lends to the strong diction used throughout his speech, and is used here to bring this example of zeugma together. He understands people are scared of the world, and he stands strongly before them showing someone out there is not afraid to negotiate for peace.

The metaphorical diction creates some of Kennedy's best appeals to the audience. He uses a metaphor here in a pledge to Southern nations, "to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty." Not only does his goal of liberation become more evident with the use of this metaphor, but he also shows the injustices of the past will not be repeated freely with a metaphor. He refers to evil dictators of the past saying, "those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside," clearly shows his intentions of becoming a just figure on the international level. Formal diction evokes a sense of national pride especially in referring to past Americans as "forebears," a sign of respect. During his opening line he wisely follows the addressing of many prestigious government figures by ending with fellow citizens. He puts the Americans on par with the other figures mentioned.

Kennedy's use of short paragraphs, in some cases one-sentence paragraphs, allows him to not drag too long on one point. The appeal to a larger demographic can be made as he uses short rhetorical questions that can apply to anyone. This can be seen when discussing the call to unite against global enemies, he asks, "will you join us in this historic effort?" Long complex sentences are the norm in the speech. Contradictory statements like the famous "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country," can be seen everywhere, and they lend themselves well to the points he tries to make. The use of parallelism creates some of these complex sentences with his listing of several key ideas fitting together in one long sentence.

Kennedy likes to use declarative sentences to emit the strength he has. He makes declarations "to those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free," and, "to those peoples in huts and villages across the globe. The repetition of these declarative elements makes it seem that he will actually carry out his plan of action.

Calling people into action makes up a good portion of his speech. The use of hortative sentences like when he repeatedly uses "let both sides" shows that he plans on not doing this alone. The humility comes through in these calls to action, but he also stays with his active approach by using imperative sentences. He commands that citizens ask themselves how they can help out the situation. Through the arrangement of the sentences so that he first says what not to do, and then what should be done are the use of antithesis seen. He lists many ideas together when it's necessary such as when he comments on the common struggle of mankind as the struggle against,