Lecture Notes: Special Occasion Unit

For the Special Occasion Assignment one major expectation is that you will use language creatively.

Creative use of imagery and rhythm can help your ideas be remembered and can help create the mood appropriate for the occasion.

One feature of vivid language is imagery.

You could say: "They were great people and we will always remember them." You could say: "The impact of freedom in one part of the world has a great impact on freedom in other parts of the world." You could say: "Now is the time to put an end to segregation and to abolish racial injustice." A second feature of vivid language is rhythm. You could say: "My constituency is the desperate, the cursed, the poor, the overlooked, and the despised." You could say: "We should always be willing to negotiate with confidence." You could say: "We are a people in a quandary about the present as we search for our future and for a national community." You could say: "Rich and poor, intelligent and ignorant, wise, or even foolish, man, woman and child--it is ever the same, each soul must depend wholly on itself."


Developing your skills in the creation of imagery and rhythm is a major goal of the special occasion speech assignment.

Test Yourself: Practice Identifying the Stylistic Devices

1. “ We hit an iceberg.  The question is, Do we retain the captain of the Titanic?”

  Rep. Steve Largent early in his effort to   challenge Gingrich.

2. “But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow this ground.”
  Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.

3. “You ask, what is our aim?  I can answer in one word.  It is victory.  Victory at all costs--victory in spite of all terrors--victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival.”
  Winston Churchill

4. “In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check.  When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”
  Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”

5.  “We may not be able to shape the world for our children, but we can shape our children for the world.”

6. “Watching the wondrous waterfall filled us with wonder.

7.  “The drums sounded like distant thunder and the harp like falling water.”

8. “We can extend opportunity to all Americans or leave many behind.  We can erase lines of inequity or etch them indelibly.  We can accelerate the most powerful engine of growth and opportunity the world has ever known, or allow the engine to stall.”
                   Bill Clinton, Commencement Address at MIT, 1998
Check your answers!