President Obama’s speech to Congress finally puts the focus on jobs. In a Clintonesque word repeater, he uses parallel clauses to contrast Washington with the American people.
The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours.
Epistrophe (e-PIS-tro-fee), the last-words repeater. From the Greek, meaning “a turning around.”
Clinton liked to talk about middle-class Americans who work hard and pay their dues. Now Obama is using the same language, deploying an excellent epistrophe to weigh Washington and the middle class side by side. Word repeaters like this one are particularly effective in speeches, because they encourage the audience to finish the orator’s sentences.
Let’s hope the president’s turning-around figure helps do something—anything—to turn things around.