Emotional Appeal from a Council Member

In direct response to speaking to a potential hostile audience, council member Joel Burns addresses his audience with an affective tone and narrative that ensures success with his address. Just before Burns made his speech there was a large number of suicides within the youth of the gay community that concerned the more mature members of the community. Specifically, many of these suicides occurred in conservative, not gay friendly, regions of the country- much like the area of Texas from where Burns grew up. As he is from Texas and is serving as a council member in Texas, he establishes his credibility to the audience of the gay community which he is the audience that he is trying to reach. I would imagine that a struggling teen living in a conservative city would have a difficult time taking advice from someone who grew up in a gay friendly city where everything was easy. While Burns allows himself to establish credibility with the audience that he is trying to reach out to, he also must be weary of the audience that surrounds him. In this potentially hostile audience, Burns addresses his audience by use of pathos. By speaking with great emotion, Burns creates a reaction in the audience members that he made have not had without this emotion.  Correlating with the use of pathos is the use of personal narrative. By using a story that so sacred to his being, Burns effects both of his audiences, the one the surrounds him and the one that he hopes to reach, by gaining their respect and admiration.

Jen Phillips


1 comment so far

  1. irene531 on

    I think many of us would agree that stories and personal narratives often make the best speeches, and Joel Burn shows all aspects of why this is true. In this speech, Joel Burn could easily speak out of anger, or even use statistics to support his argument. However, by using stories and details of recent suicides of the youth in the gay community while showing images of their faces, he utilizes pathos immediately and forces the audience to see that they are real people like themselves. This establishes a common ground early on. In addition, when Burn uses his personal narrative as the main body of the speech, I agree that he immediately establishes his own credibility as nobody in the audience can argue against his experience. Even if he was speaking to people with opposing beliefs about the gay community, using his personal narrative is a less hostile and more effective approach because it allows the audience to feel as if the speaker is sharing an experience rather than talking at them. As a result, he is able to persuade the audience to act through the use of pathos. Moreover, Burn shows that because there is a natural passion that comes with sharing personal stories, the delivery is natural, real, and therefore effective. He shows that stories can potentially move the speaker. Therefore, the audience is left with more sympathy and motivation to act.

    Irene Tsai

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