Persuading and Defending: A Stylistic Analysis of Obama’s Speech at Hiroshima Peace Park on May 27, 2016
Murana, Muniru Oladayo (PhD)

The task of persuading people to change their attitude is usually arduous more so when their action is informed by their experience or their mindset is justified by facts. An effective persuasive discourse, therefore, is characterized by multiple strategies capable of effecting a change in the psychology of the audience. This paper examines Obama’s speech delivered at the last Hiroshima commemoration to explicate the stylistic strategies deployed in its production. Its thrust is that the speech is both persuasive and defensive. It finds that Obama employs all structural sentence types to achieve comprehensiveness of both his persuasion of the Japanese hosts to redefine their conception of the historical bombing and his exoneration of America. More specifically, it discovers apt choice of non finite clauses and adverbial clause of purpose in the presentation of the rationale for the gathering; adroit deployment of negation to refute the Japanese conception and exclamatory questions to advance his persuasion. Again, the analysis shows that Obama exonerates America through such devices as agentless passive, negative polarity, topicalisation and generalization.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v5n2a12