Dissecting A Famous Speech Can Stimulate The Home School Student And Parent Alike

Some of the best field trips for home school students do not require leaving the home. To analyze or dissect famous speeches from our country's sublime past including those of Patrick Henry or Webster or Lincoln, or those of Churchill's "Finest Hour" Empire, or of Cicero's gasping Roman Republic, or of the pure Athenian democracy of Demosthenes and Pericles, can open up the majestic, astonishing course of history like nothing else can. Nor should one overlook the gaudy speeches of captains of industry, such as Iacocca of Chrysler, who successfully overcame very long odds. And even more than an important excursion into history, speech dissection can also stir young men or women to rise up, one day, as political or business leaders themselves!

A speech, properly examined, is like a portal on a deep sea diving vessel that can allow us to explore incredible treasures otherwise buried from view and lost forever.

A speech, fleshed out by an experienced home school parent or instructor, can bring a crucial moment in history alive. Indeed oratory dissection can lay bare, if you will, the very soul of the speaker and the nature of the audience and that of an entire nation or civilization, at the moment of its delivery. What is more, many and rich are the secrets of statecraft entombed within a famous speech of bygone years.

The trail begins with an exploration of the actual "Argument" of the speech. What was the "Proposition" (central asserted truth) and "Purpose" (free act the audience was to take). What was the speaker attempting to prove and what accomplish? What reason or other did he marshal, and what emotional appeal or other did he excite? Then the deeper dissection-and the deeper discoveries-may emerge. Did he argue fairly? What arguments did he leave out? Was he hiding something? Did he show true courage or true leadership? Was he representing hidden interests or special interests? Was he a friend of the people or of the king or the modern version of a king? Was he caught in the middle of contradictory forces? Was he ahead of his time? Or riding the wave of good fortune? What might have been a different way of making his or her case?

Speech dissection is the first building block at one and the same time of public speaking and of leadership. Before we can learn how to craft a persuasive speech of our own, we need to be able to discern the methods of someone else. Because our government and our companies are based upon persuasion, not force, to decipher how a leader argues is to take the first step toward becoming a leader ourself.

Article Source: Dr Joe Arminio

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