Rhetorical Analysis Of Marie Colvin Speech to the Queen of England

  • Category: History, War,
  • Words: 862 Pages: 4
  • Published: 18 March 2021
  • Copied: 121

War is one of the most dangerous creations of mankind. One of the many jobs of war is reporting, which comes with many challenges including the possibility of death. On November 10, 2010 at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London the 21st century war correspondent Marie Colvin, gave a speech to the Queen of England, other high ranked politicians, and families of war reporters who lost their lives. Marie Colvin discusses why the families should not be angry or downtrodden about their deceased loved ones because throughout the use of flattery, anecdotes, diction, and others. Colvin is able to show their families that they died with dignity and presents to the Queen and Politicians that this is a very honorable job that should be recognized.

Marie Colvin begins her speech by using flattery to introduce herself to her prestige audience members. She knows that the audience will be more prone to listen to her if she is respectful. With this knowledge she draws on the appeals of ethos to establish her credibility. She states  “I have been a war correspondent for most of my professional life.” This shows the audience she has personal experience in war reporting. Colvin also uses diction through the words “chaos, destruction and death” to capture the essence of war and give an accurate introduction into the world of war reporting.

In the next four paragraphs, Colvin begins to open up about the horrors of war reporting.

Appealing to pathos, she begins to discuss the tragic sights that war reporters see such as “Craters. Burned houses. Mutilated bodies. Women weeping for children and husbands. Men for their wives, mothers, children.” By stating this Marie Colvin is able to show the Queen and politicians a few of the disastrous, horrid sights the reporters must see and why the profession should be honored. This also draws emotion from the families who lost a loved one because they can empathize with the other families because they are familiar with that same gut wrenching feeling. Colvin also uses an anecdote to tell her experience at war. “I lost my eye in an ambush in the Sri Lankan civil war.” Throughout the use of this device the audience is able to see the dangers of reporting from a first hand experience but, she does not ask for pity because she is proud of her efforts. 

The answer to the question of “Is it worth it?” has not been answered yet but Marie Colvin makes sure to address it in the next 5 paragraphs. She is aware that the answer is vital because if she does not answer it, the families could be offended that their questions were dismissed and will never be satisfied because they won’t know if their beloved family members died with a sense of worth. Colvin uses the rhetorical question of  “is it worth the cost in lives, heartbreak, loss? Can we really make a difference?”. She then answers the question with the ultimate decision that it is worth it. Using flattery she honors the tasks that the reporters endure and how their efforts not only impact them mentally but, everyone else around them as well. By finishing the section with flattery and examples of the good the profession provides it not only shows the audience why war reporters should be honored but also gives the families the satisfaction of knowing that their loved ones died with meaning and believing that it was worth it in the end.           

In the next three paragraphs she includes an allusion to the first war correspondent in the modern era, William Howard Rusell. The allusion tells a backstory of what war reporting was like during the Crimean War in the 1850’s and displays how Russell’s story caused a breakthrough in war reporting because up until then the reports were only given by junior officers. With Bill Russell’s report about how the soldiers were treated and how the ill preparation led to a failed military action. Throughout the use of this allusion it shows the importance of this profession and provides an example of a time when it provided important information to the public. Colvin then uses multiple analogies to compare Bill Rusell’s time at war versus hers and then compares her experience at war to modern day war reporters. She wants to show the audience how this profession can change but regardless of the advancements in technology and equipment that they still deserve to be honored because the job will always come with risks.

Colvin ends her speech with repetition and a call to action. Marie Colvin repeats “faith” multiple times, this word is used because she is asking for the faith of her audience. Colivn states that the real challenge is having faith in humanity, that people will care when your file reaches the newspaper. With the repetition of faith it helps bring upon her call to action that the people must read the reports. She has faith because she believes that the profession does good for the world. Colvin asks that the audience has the same faith as her because war reporting makes a difference and without them reading the reports in the printed page, websites, or TV’s the profession  can not exist. 

Although war reporting has many dangers it is a crucial job that must be done. Marie Colvin knew this and with the use of flattery, diction, anecdotes and other rhetorical devices and appeals she was able to speak on the importance of war reporting and why it should be honored and, answered the question “is it worth it?”


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