ERIC Number: ED249566
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Oct-12
Reference Count: 0
Rhetorical Choice in Mansfield's November 25, 1963 Eulogy.
Benoit, William L.
One of the most memorable eulogies delivered in the United States Senate is the one by Senator Michael Mansfield for President John F. Kennedy. An analysis of his word choice reveals that he (1) forced the audience to participate in the creation of the message; (2) employed active, forceful descriptions; (3) focused on praiseworthy qualities of the President; (4) forced the audience to accept his loss early in the speech, then softened the description at the end; and (5) began with the past and, through his descriptions, forced the audience to accept the present and look toward the future. The use of repetition as well as balance and contrast served to highlight the ideas he wished to communicate, making them stand out from their context. The arrangement united the work, making it a completed whole. This analysis of Mansfield's eulogy gives insight into the functioning of certain stylistic choices in discourse. Particularly interesting are the ways in which the selection of words can stimulate the audience's imagination by presenting a vivid description of events and the way in which omissions in description can force audience participation. Repetition can frame important ideas while balance and contrast can suggest a completeness that is pleasant. More work needs to be done on the way in which stylistic devices secure pragmatic ends. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Eulogies; Mansfield (Michael)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Mid-America Linguistics Conference (27th, Columbia, MO, October 12-13, 1984).