Mod B Keating Pearson Essay

Submitted By sharpeningskills
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Pages: 5

Great speeches have the power to unite their listeners and engage them as a collective consciousness by utilising a cohesion of rhetoric, form and structure to develop textual integrity, thereby creating an enduring speech that transcends the confines of its era to remain relevant across all contexts. Such speeches often recall on past losses, and use these to inspire their audience for positive social change. Paul Keating’s uplifting speech Funeral Service of the Unknown Australian Soldier in 1993 and Noel Pearson’s critiquing address An Australian history for us all in 1996 are two speeches which effectively use such rhetoric, form and structure in order to resoundingly communicate their hopes and desires for Australia’s future. Both texts recount past atrocities such as war and injustice against Aboriginals, and proceed to paint a picture of the positives that society can draw from their losses, such as unification and tolerance.
Keating’s speech Funeral Service of the Unknown Australian Soldier was delivered and televised on Remembrance Day of 1993 on Parliament lawn, and he spoke to remind Australians of the past horrors of war. Keating did this using the repetitious symbol of the “Unknown Soldier” throughout his speech. His exordium begins emphatically with “We do not know this Australian’s name and we never will”, Keating’s inclusive language and his subsequent anaphora of “we do not know” illustrate that he speaks on behalf of all Australians and that the soldier’s anonymity means he is a talisman of peace – an everyman figure to symbolise the Australian spirit. The audience’s focus is then shifted from the single tragedy of the Unknown Soldier to the collective losses brought by war, illustrated effectively by Keating using statistics; “One of the 100 000 Australians who have died in wars this century.” This adds to his credibility and argumentative weight, and reinforces the grand scale of loss that occurred in wartime, casting the audience’s mind back to darker aspects of Australia’s history. Additionally, Keating denounces war by using asyndeton in “The Great War was a mad, brutal, awful struggle.” From a personal standpoint, this was a smart move by Keating, as it reverberated with the modern war-opposed society, which increases the appeal of his speech, and exemplifies the honour and sacrifice of our fallen soldiers. Hence, Keating is effective in making the responder reflect on the massive losses accumulated due to war in Australia.
Likewise, Noel Pearson’s retrospective An Australian history for us all reflects on the discourse of how the nation must deal with the past injustices imposed on Aboriginal Australians. A guest speaker to an academic audience, his long speech length and intellectual terms and references of “terra nullius” and the “Mabo” judgement are appropriate, enhancing his ethos as a speaker. In discussing the past, Pearson creates a division between “ordinary Australians” and Aboriginal Australians by consistently using second person diction “they will say” and “you have taken from us not just our land.” This is necessary to provide both sides of the discourse and identify sources of conflict. By extensively quoting from a wide range of figures such as William Cooper; “He shot 17 natives and later shot another 14”, Pearson describes history’s past losses without becoming emotionally involved in the argument himself, which allows him to maintain an objective tone. This enhances his logos, and is necessary for the public and intellectual discourse he promotes. Moreover, Pearson contends that looking back on the past should not be “about assigning guilt for the actions of our forebears” but instead about “respecting the lingering pain from past injustices.” Hence, like Keating’s speech, these facets of Pearson’s speech coalesce to create textual integrity, developing a reflective tone of past losses that is not accusing or overly-melancholy but instead respectful, which allows both orators to