About This Site

Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
(What are figures of speech?)
Ask Figaro a question!

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    « "Never His Love." | Main | Hey, AP English Teachers! »

    A Turning Around

    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.

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (4)

    I am so happy that this blog is back...it makes my teaching life.
    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
    Thanks, Kathleen! Your comment makes my writing day.
    September 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Just ordered both of your books for my AP class, as directed. I'll keep you posted, and all that implies! Haha!
    September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
    Please do.
    September 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.