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Great leaders use rhetoric to instil hope as seen in The King's Speech

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During the film, The King’s Speech, Lionel Logue plays five different roles. Logue is a father (plays with his children in his office), husband (talks with his wife by the radio), therapist (sits with Bertie every day to help him overcome his stammer), family member (becomes close enough with Bertie that he is demanded to sit in the King’s box during Bertie’s coronation), and friend (has been with Bertie through every obstacle). Logue demonstrates rhetorical sensitivity throughout every role that he takes during the movie. Logue shows role flexibility when he is playing with his children in his office and is surprised when Bertie comes in unannounced. Logue has to change his role from father to therapist in an instant. Logue also demonstrates role sensitivity when he transitions from being Bertie’s therapist to becoming his friend and part of his family. Logue demonstrates “stating” what needs to be said during his role as Bertie’s therapist when he tells him exactly what needs to be done to fix his stammer despite the fact that Bertie doesn’t want to hear a single word he is saying. This is also demonstrated when Logue insists on using first names.

There are two instances when someone communicates to King George VI (Bertie) in a “non-rhetorically sensitive way.” The first instance was when Bertie’s father was telling George that he needed to get over his stammer. If Bertie’s father were rhetorically sensitive, he would be encouraging and tell him what needed to be done in order for him to overcome his speech impairment. Instead, he told him he was wrong and continually tore him down. Another instance is shown when Logue speaks out of turn to Bertie while they are going for a walk in the park. Logue tells Bertie that he could be King despite the fact that his brother currently holds the thrown. This is considered treason and it infuriates Bertie. Both these instances demonstrate people communicating to Bertie in a non-rhetorically sensitive way.

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There are three reasons that I believe King George VI held for not allowing others to help him. They are his pride, his lack of faith in him self, and his lack of success in the past. I believe Bertie values his pride because he is a King and he believes he should not have to get help for his speech impairment. Bertie is supposed to be this all-powerful masculine role model to his country and it kills him that he can’t even give a speech to his people. Bertie also lacks faith in him self. This is mostly due to the fact that he grew up being belittled by his father, nanny, and other people in his life. Also, Bertie believes that it cannot be fixed, so why should he even let someone help him try to fix it? Another factor that adds to Bertie not letting people help him is the fact that he has had so little success in the past. He has seen countless doctors and gone through hundreds of treatments and therapies and none of them have worked. Any person would want to give up after so much failure. These are the reasons I believe King George held for not allowing other to help him.

The most interesting insight I took from Bitzer’s article was the concept that “In the best if all possible worlds, there would be communication perhaps, but no rhetoric – since exigencies would not arise,” (Bitzer IV). It is fascinating to think that the world invites change and scientific inquiry. I enjoyed learning that “rhetoric is distinguished from the mere craft of persuasion which, although it is a legitimate object of scientific investigation. Lacks philosophical warrant as a practical discipline,” (Bitzer IV).

Three speeches that I have found powerful/motivational are Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have A Dream,” Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1st fireside chat “On The Banking Crisis” and John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration Speech “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…” During Martin Luther King’s famous speech, the central message was based around his dream of civil rights and non-violence. I found this speech inspiring because he was determined to achieve equality for all Americans and he spoke out even though he was a black man in a “white country.” The central message in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1st fireside chat was to calm the fears of America during the bank holiday in the 1930s. I found this speech inspiring because FDR talked to the people of America like they were his personal friends. He eased their fears and convinced them to go back to the banks when they opened. He addressed his listeners personally and I love the fact that he was able to do that when America was in need. The last speech that I found particularly inspiring was John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech. In his speech he says, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This really touched me because Kennedy called on our nation to combat “tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.”

I believe I am very conscious of the image that I present of myself on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I am well aware of the impact that a single post could have in my future. It could negatively impact potential future employment, the relationships I make, and many other situations that will occur in my future. I am extremely careful what I post because I do not want to jeopardize the good person that people know me to be. One slip up and the opinion that people have on me could be irreversibly changed.

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