1. In what ways does Obama establish his credibility, authority, or trustworthiness (his ethos) in this speech? Offer at least two specific examples for support.
2. State in your own words what you believe to be Obama’s purpose in this speech. What evidence in the text leads you to this conclusion? Offer specific examples.
3. Examine Obama’s consideration of his audience. He is essentially speaking to at least three different groups all at once: Americans in general, white people, and non-whites. How does he attempt to address each? Offer at least one specific example of his method for addressing each of the groups (thus three examples total).
4. Look again at the section where Obama discusses the controversy surrounding Rev. Wright and assess how he handles this in the speech. Given the context, do you think the way Obama addresses the controversy helps him achieve the purpose you’ve identified or hinders him from it? Explain.
5. At one point, Obama quotes William Faulkner’s famous statement that “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” What do you understand this phrase to mean? Why do you think Obama includes it? And do you think its use here is effective is relation to his purpose? Why or why not? Explain.
6. Obama ends his speech with an anecdote about a woman named Ashley Baia. What do you think he was hoping to achieve by ending the speech this way? And do you find the use of this anecdote an effective rhetorical device? Why or why not? Explain.