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This paper analyzes President Barack Obama’s rhetoric in three of his national eulogies in order to examine how Obama consoles the nation following various tragedies, and how his strategies differ from past presidents. These three addresses include President Obama’s responses to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the West, TX plant explosion. For this paper a rhetorical analysis of Obama’s addresses was performed using a form of genre criticism. The components of this genre criticism were drawn from Robert Dennis and Adrienne Dennis Kunkel’s (2004) framework concerning national eulogy rhetoric. The results of this analysis illustrate that President Obama focuses on the survivors of tragedy rather than the victims, and transforms the survivors into heroes. President Obama’s emphasis on the survivors of tragedy rather than the victims promotes a sense of hope for the survivors and the nation by empowering the people to move on from the tragedy.


Undergraduate Research Awards - 2015 Winner, Junior/Senior category

Entry essay - West.docx (15 kB)
Victoria West's entry essay for the 2015 Undergraduate Research Awards