The Analysis of Senator Barack Obama’s Speech on Race by Kenneth Burke’s Idea of Dramatism

By Liu Xiaoyan and Nancy Lynch Street.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The analysis is focused on scene-act ratio and agent-purpose ratio in an attempt to identify and interpret Obama’s motives in giving the race speech. The analysis of scene-act ratio spotlights the political motive of the speech. Obama wanted to limit the damage inflicted on his campaign by his pastor Jeremiah Wright’s sermons. The analysis of agent-purpose ratio reveals the emotional motive of the speech. Obama felt a compelling need to redeem himself due to the increasing public attack on him. At the end of paper, the author points out that pentad, subject to people’s varying interpretations, tends to lose its objective hold in its practical guidance.

Keywords: Dramatism, Pentad, Purgative-Redemptive Drama, Motive

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.83-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.193MB).

Liu Xiaoyan

lecturer, Communication Department, School of Humanities and Social Sciences., Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China

Liu Xiaoyan,from School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Beijing Jiaotong Univesity, China. I come from Beijing and teach in the Beijing Jiaotong University. I’m now a visiting scholar in Bridgewater State College, M.A. I’m interested in the communication theories, especially how the theory can be applied to daily practice.

Dr. Nancy Lynch Street

Professor, Communication Studies Department, Bridgewater State University, South Easton, MA, USA

Dr. Nancy Lynch Street is a full professor of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University (BSU), Bridgewater, MA. Over the past thirty years, Street has served twice as the Exchange Professor from BSU to Shanxi Teacher’s University in Linfen, in addition to numerous other China-related projects in the United States and in China. She has received two Fulbright Study Group awards (to Taiwan, South Korea and the PRC) and one Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to consult with Beijing Jiaotong University. In addition to developing curriculum, with emphasis on theory, Intercultural Communication and Globalization, Street has served as Graduate Coordinator, Department Chairperson and Coordinator of the Center for Research and Learning (CART). She has also traveled throughout Greece, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, Mexico and Cuba. Using participant observation, interviewing and ethnography she has co-authored multiple books on China, war and film and social change. Her first book, In Search of Red Buddha: Higher Education in China After Mao Zedong, 1985-1990 was reissued in 2004. Currently, Dr. Street’s latest book (co-authored with Dr. Marilyn Matelski of Boston College, entitled Web of Confucius was issued in 2009.


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