Barack Obama made his Inauguration Speech to the citizens of America. He talks about challenges that America faces and that he, with the help of the whole nation, will meet them and try to overcome them. The main idea of the whole speech is certainly unity. He tries to convince the nation to work together to overcome all problems, to take responsibility. Solving all those problems, which he metaphorically describes as "gathering clouds and raging storms", is not the task of himself or the government. Everybody is involved and feels concerned.
Obama uses several literary features to underline the importance of this argument. By always repeating words like "we", "us" he universalises his idea. But also by using examples of normal citizens like a "fire fighter" who "storms a stairway filled with smoke" he shows that he's talking to every individual. Obama tries to encourage the population not to surrender, to "pick [themselves] up and begin the work of remaking America" and says that it's possible.
He uses the Anaphor "All this we can do. And all this we will do" to convince the population. He also tries to encourage the people by reminding them of the past. "For us, they travelled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they settled the west. For us, they fought and died in places like Concord." Using this anaphor, Obama encourages the population with the thought that these things shall not have been for nothing. They shouldn't just throw this great opportunity of freedom and liberty away but fight for it.
Barack Obama does not just to demonstrate the importance of the new challenges that America is facing. He also wants to remind of the values on which the success of such a task depends: values like "honesty, courage, fair play …" Using the anaphor "These things are old. These things are true" he describes the importance of the values on which the nation relies. Obama also draws attention to the dangers of terror. He sais that America will not apologize for their way of life. He claims that "their spirit is stronger and cannot be broken". By saying "we will defeat you" Obama announces continuing war on terrorism.
After this general overview over the speech a more detailed view on the literary techniques in the last part of Obama's speech, part 6, shall follow. In the last part of his speech, Obama sets some examples of normal citizens who could be an examples for a good citizen. He's talking about workers who would "rather cut their own hours than see a friend lose his job". He tries to set good examples for everyone and by picking a normal individual shows that everybody is involved and can change something.
In part 6, Obama's also talking about the values mentioned above( "honesty, fair play …"). The anaphor "This is the price of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed" presents again the importance of his ideas. Pathetic fallacy is used in the last paragraph of part six. Obama describes this time as a "winter of hardship" and "icy currents" and makes clear that "what storms may come" they would endure it.
The speech of Obama's Inauguration is maybe not the speech that many would have expected. After his great performances before, great expectations appeared. Under his supporters, he was and is celebrated as the saviour of the nation, the first black president. During the election campaigns it might have helped him a lot but now that he is president he runs risk of disappointing the people. Maybe all those expectations are way too big. Obama probably knows that and maybe has tried to damp them with this speech. He tries to clarify that he's just a ordinary man and that he cannot succeed without the full support of everyone.
And this is the one thing which makes him different from other people. He is able to unify the people and make them follow him to the final aim. This can by the way also be quite dangerous taking into account that this was one of the major values of Adolf Hitler. However, Obama also argues quite vague in his speech: Though he claims that he wants to meet challenges like the banking crisis, terrorism and global warming, he doesn't quite explain how he's going to do it. He explains that success is only possible with the support of all, but leaves everybody in the dark about what his exact steps will be and what his part in this game will be. In fact, Obama has done the right thing damping down the expectations. The disappointment would be too big if he should fail. No one should be to optimistic before first results exist.