Remarks by the first lady, Michelle Obama
In the speech from 2013, Michelle Obama once said “the person with the biggest impact on your education is you. It’s that simple.”. This quote was said, at an education event with DC High School Sophomores. She said it as a wake-up call to the school’s students and students over the rest of U.S.A. because the number of graduates has fallen dramatically in U.S.A. since the last generation. Obama’s choice of language is daily talk, this is also an indication that the receivers are the students. Because of Obama’s upright public image, she was chosen to try to be a part of the solution to the crucial matter regarding the fall of graduates in U.S.A. Furthermore, has Obama self-been through a tough education, so she can relate to the problem.
Moreover, she tells a story about her own school period, which wasn’t easy. Obama dreamed about a good education, followed by a plum job, but her parents didn’t have that kind of money because they have never taken a college education themselves. Even though her parents didn’t take a college education, didn’t mean that they didn’t believe in education, there could be other reasons why they didn’t take it, such as financial problems. They did, in fact, push Obama to do whatever it took to succeed in school. Despite Obamas parent’s financial disadvantage, she made it to Princeton, which was her dream. Based on Obama’s history, she was the perfect candidate to represent, what the students need. A strong-headed person, who wasn’t born with privileges such as wealth. She fought her way to the top. Having that said, she was the perfect candidate as mentioned earlier, she could inspire the young students to provide that extra it might take to get an education.
What Obama is trying to emphasize in her speech, is that the US. students need to start blowing the whistle. She is using her own life, as an example to express a message. Namely that there is no excuse for not graduating.
Throughout the speech, Obama is using different forms of appeal to affect the receiver. Obama is mostly using the appeal form pathos. The idea behind the use of pathos is to, appeal to the receiver’s emotions. A great example is when Obama, is speaking about her own personal life experience, and how she reached the top “I set my sights high. I decided I was going to Princeton. But I quickly realized that for me, a kid like me, getting into Princeton wasn’t just going to happen on its own”. Here you can clearly see that the appeal form Pathos has been used. It shows that Obama has been “in the same boat” as the students if not worse equipped. In the quote, Obama also speaks about how it was not an easy task, but she did never give up and nor should they. The students can then compare their own life with Obamas, as she has gone through their current situation.
Another quote in the speech where Obama is using an appeal form is following “But Barack didn’t just set the goal because it’s good for our country. He did it because he knows how important higher education is to all of you as individuals. Because when the year 2020 rolls around, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in this country are going to require some form of training beyond high school “. Her is Obama using Ethos where it’s about the sender being trustworthy. When she mentions that it’s her husband, Barack Obama, – who was at that point president of the US – that says that in 2020 nearly two-thirds of all jobs is requiring that, you have to had some form of training beyond high school. Makes it more trustworthy for the receiver.
As mentioned earlier Obama’s chosen of language hangs well together with the receivers she is trying to reach out to. When she is using her “daily talk” she doesn’t seem superior. That means, that the student will prefer to hear this speech from Obama, instead of a person who has been former student, that has got it served on a silver platter. Some of the receivers wouldn’t could relate to that person. Overall it’s safe to say that Obamas speech will have a positive impact on students, that have problems about graduating in the US. The students are more responsive to Obama as she has been through a tough education, but made it anyways. That means, that the receivers – the students – can identify themselves with Obama’s message. Obama’s use of appeal forms, is appealing to the receiver’s sympathies, as they can relate to the problem. By the use of Pathos, she is able to “convince” the receivers to give it that extra it takes to graduate.


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