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All in This Together: State of the Union Address Queens University of Charlotte Moiah Faulkner-Wheeler
All in This Together In the United States Constitution it is stated that the president should from time to time update the congress on the state of the union and advise them on what measures the president believe to be necessary and practical (What is the purpose of the State of the Union Address?). This address can be used as a powerful tool for leading the nation. Also can be used as a technique to convince the congress and the nation on doing the right thing – or what the president believe is the right thing. On February 12, 2013 President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address. President Obama was recently elected to run for a second term and he used this opportunity, the state of the union address, to reinforce his belief on what are the right things to do dealing with economy, education, social concerns, deficit reduction and the war. His speech had over 33 million viewers (de Moraes, 2013). By using the pentad and conducting a dramatistic analysis, this speech will be analyzed to determine what the speech is implying what is the right thing to do and what people ought to believe. Kenneth Burke is the creator of the dramatistic perspective. This perspective focuses on how people make sense of the world through drama (Sellnow, 2010). This perspective can be used to analyze text by helping the analyzers “understand the motives we use to justify our actions, particularly when those actions conflict with society’s behavioral norms” (Sellnow, 2010, p. 51). Not only does this perspective make it easier to understand how some text influences some human behaviors but it illustrates that language and other symbols creates the foundation of the perception of reality and the motives for certain human behaviors (Sellnow, 2010). Burke believed that these actions were created by terministic screens. Terministic screens are words or symbols that represent a particular worldview (Sellnow, 2010). Humans use terministic screens as enablers and deterrents. Enablers is when the word or symbol illustrates it is alright to think or do certain things; while, deterrents are the opposite. In order to make easier
All in This Together to analyze texts, burke created a pentad. The pentad has five major elements; those elements consist of act, agent(s), agency, scene, and the purpose (Sellnow, 2010). Using these elements while conducting a dramatistic analysis on President Obama’s speech well help identify “what is being argued about the appropriate and the inappropriate rules for living and justifiable motives to break them” (Sellnow, 2010, p. 57).
The act in the pentad is the rule-breaking behavior or the most pertinent event that has taken place in the narrative (So What In The World is a Dramatistic Pentad?). The act in this text was the thought of complete equality regardless of your nationality, social status, gender, and legal status. This consider a rule-breaking behavior in the United States because their society believes in “working your way up” and not everyone is born with the same opportunity as of others. This is also rule-breaking because the President also spoke on holding everyone accountable; we all have to accept certain obligations to one another. This idea goes against the society belief in individualism.
The Agent(s) and the Agency
The agent(s) is the main character that participates in the act (Sellnow, 2010). The agent in this text is President Barack Obama, the congress, and the rest of the nation. President Barack is the agent because he is the one conducted the State of the Union Address. The congress and the nation are main characters also because they were his audience. The next element is the agency. “The agency refers to the tools, means, and techniques employed to accomplish the act” (Sellnow, 2010, p. 52). The tools that are used in this text are the camera men, the speech, microphone, televisions, internet, cameras, and the speech writer.
All in This Together
The State of the Union Address took place on February 12, 2013 at the House chamber. In the background, the vice president and the speaker of the house is sitting behind the president. Also there is the American flag hanging on the wall behind them. The President is also standing behind a podium. The setting helps illustrate the importance and the power of the State of the Union. It also portrays the seriousness of this moment and the speech. However, the audience is occasionally shown.
“The purpose refers to the explanation offered as to why the agent(s) engaged in the rulebreaking behavior” (Sellnow, 2010, p. 53). President Obama engaged in the act to outline his key priorities for this following year. He also engaged in this speech to convince the congress and the nation what’s the right things to do. The congress and the nation listened to this speech to learn of the president’s ambitions and priorities and what they should do in order to help benefit their government and their nation. After considering all the elements in the pentad, the State of the Union address was justified as being an appropriate behavior at the moment. The speech used enabling terministic screens in order to persuade the audience that is okay to believe and to have complete equality. Everyone deserves a chance in greater education, equal pay, job opportunities, and becoming a citizen of the United States of America. The founding solution of the nation’s problem is holding everyone accountable and working together to promote a change.
All in This Together References de Moraes, L. (2013, Febuary 13). About 33.5 million people watch State of the Union Address. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/tv-column/post/fox-news-channel-wins-amongcable-ratings-for-state-of-the-union/2013/02/13/6f14926e-761c-11e2-95e46148e45d7adb_blog.html Sellnow, D. D. (2010). The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture Considering Mediated Texts. SAGE Publications. So What In The World is a Dramatistic Pentad? (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2013, from Dramatistic Pentad: http://pentad.weebly.com/analysis-method.html What is the purpose of the State of the Union Address? (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2013, from ThisNation.com: http://www.thisnation.com/question/014.html