John F. Kennedy “We choose to go to the Moon” Rhetorical AnalysisPresident John F. Kennedy delivered a speech to an uprising generation of scientists and engineers hoping to inspire them to accomplish the upcoming challenge of the Apollo program, landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s. Through the use of rhetorical devices such as personification, similes, and rhetorical questions, president John F.
Kennedy delivers one of the most influential speeches of all time to get the nation back on track in the space program. Kennedy used personification numerous times throughout his speech to personify the progress the the United States and how we have always led the forefront of innovation. He said “.
..this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space.” This quote helps explain to the American people why it is so important they invest so heavily in the space program. That if they didn’t they would would be in the wake of other communist countries, such as the Soviet Union, who has invested heavily into their space program with relative success. Kennedy stated America needs to shift our efforts in the space program from, “low to high gear” in order to remain in the forefront of the innovation and exploration of space and space travel.
Kennedy uses similes to put into the perspective the vastness of these rockets being developed to take man to the moon nearly 240,000 miles away. He explains that the rocket will be “as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.” He uses the field he is giving his speech on as well as a the commonly known width of a city block so the audience can understand the monstrous size of the rocket.
The simile helps the audience understand the feat it would be to send a 6.2 million pound rocket to the moon and back with humans onboard. Lastly, Kennedy uses rhetorical questions to inspire the audience and the citizens of the United States why should we go to space. He asks “Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? ” Without other the action of influential people or great leaps in technology or even conquering seemingly impossible tasks, where would we be now? The president means that if we stay within the same box of normality, or constrain ourselves to what is commonplace we can not improve or be a leading nation. He also uses rhetorical questions to add to his ethical appeal and create comedic relief, he says “Why does Rice play Texas?”.
He is delivering the speech to students attending Rice University, so these students will be able to understand the deep drive and passion to succeed in this mission, through the mention of the passion in the football rivalry. Kennedy recognises that these students will become the future scientists and engineers working in the new facilities. They will be the ones solving near impossible problems and making new discoveries, and he needs them to remain passionate and motivated about this mission, like the football rivalry.In this introduction to the space age, President John F. Kennedy delivered a very inspirational message to the country that the United States won’t stand to be second.
Through the use of rhetorical devices such as personification, similes, and rhetorical questions the president explains that the challenge won’t be easy but through the success of the Apollo program we will be back on the leading edge of innovation and exploration.