Rhetorical devices

Here are some of the rhetorical devices used by Obama in his speech on reclaiming the American Dream.

Allusions

One of the most interesting allusions (indirect references) that Obama makes in his speech is to Fannie Lou Hamer, an American rights activist and a Civil Rights Movement Leader in the 1960s. When asked why she continued to fight for her civil rights, Hamer gave an answer which became famous: she stated that she was sick and tired her entire life, and that she finally found the courage to become sick and tired of being sick and tired. In his speech, Obama makes an allusion to her and connects her famous words with living under the Bush administration: “We're ready for the Bush Administration to end, because we are sick and tired of being sick and tired.” 

In his speech, Obama often makes allusions to the politicians in Washington whose only interests are working in favor of the upper-class and creating even more facilities for the well-of: “We'll hear from the can't-do, won't-do, won't-even-try crowd in Washington; the special interests and their lobbyists; the conventional thinking that says this country is just too divided to make progress.”;

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