Parody Of Ronald Reagan Tear Down This Wall Speech

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ANALYSIS Ronald Reagan had a number of striking rhetorical characteristics which lend themselves to parody. This analysis reviews these characteristics, their source and how they will be used in our parody project. Few presidents have been able to conjure vivid, dramatic rhetoric as well as Ronald Reagan. A few examples: We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! Reagan’s development as a vividly dramatic communicator can be traced to his early interest in drama and public speaking while attending high school and college. Young speakers, especially young actors, draw stark dramatic contrasts as they apply their rudimentary worldview to the events and relationships they observe. An early documented speech at the 1952 William Woods College commencement made heavy use of absolute terms (“always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme” and “Any place in the world and any person from these places; any person with the courage”). He frequently used visualization in making dramatic contrasts. The same 1952 commencement speech refers to the desire of American Immigrants to “tear up their roots to strive for freedom, to attempt and care to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world.” Well known visual dramatic flourishes included the “shining city on a hill” and “tear down this wall” references. The above characteristics acquired as a youth and reinforced by his work as a radio sportscaster and screen actor would serve Reagan well once he entered the rhetorical community as a spokesperson in the 1950s. Reagan’s initial media exposure was in radio sportscasting. As a sportscaster, he developed a knack for terse effective language when events required quick summaries. He also found an affinity for colorful elaboration to
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