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Audience, Occasion, and the Rhetorical Situation in Robert F. Kennedy’s “Remarks on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.”
On April 4, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech in Indianapolis, Indiana popularly called “Remarks on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.” In the speech, Kennedy addresses the crowd who are holding campaign sign and says: “Could you lower those signs, please?” Apparently, the crowd did not know of the assassination of King. Kennedy was about to deliver the news.
While holding a prepared speech in his hand, Kennedy mostly looks out at the audience and only briefly looks at the text. In most likelihood, he took time to memorize key passages ahead of time so he could use the power of looking out into the crowd in order to better connect with his audience. However, he had memorized a speech to campaign for President but found himself suddenly having to calm and soothe a potentially violent crowd....
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