Rhetorical Analysis Of Malala Yousafzai's Speech

Nearly seventy million children around the world today are unable to attain a basic education, more than half being female. Looking to improve this saddening fact, Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani female student, speaks out at the Youth Takeover of the UN. Her first public speech since being attacked by the Taliban, Malala talks of her goal: equal educational rights for everyone, specifically women. In order to empower and emphasize the need for equality in education to the members of the United Nation and young people who need to attain her intense passion to take a stand, Malala Yousafzai conveys her message through repetitive ideas, allusions to historical figures, and juxtaposing the Taliban's intentions.

To begin, Malala purposefully repeats powerful words and phrases in order to emphasize her goal and fight for equalizing gender education for women around the globe. By addressing her audience as “brothers and sisters” Yousafzai attempts to place her listeners on an equalized level. In doing so, she logically enhances her relationship and encourages them to take a stand and join her battle for education. Continuing, she repeats the phrase “we call upon...” in order to reach out to more people and make clear that everyone can join the effort to regulate and balance the opportunities of schooling. She makes clear that she wants more people to make a difference than just those sitting in the audience. Her continuous use of words such as “we, our, and us” makes her speech more personal as she relates to them directly. Malala’s choosing to repeat important words and phrases adds to her effort to make all apart of her battle in order to improve the lives of all women.

Not only does Yousafzai repeat words and phrases, but she also references and alludes to historical events and figures throughout in an effort to lure listeners in and want to stand up for education themselves. She initiates her speech with the words “In the name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful”. This implication to God appeals to the faith of the listeners and provides empowerment of optimism and strength in order to confidently stand up and make a difference. In intense passion and open-mindedness for the future and change, Yousafzai mentions that despite the attack placed on her and the difficulties she has faced, she does “not hate the Talib who shot” her. She has an aspiring nonviolent mindset in which she has learned and acquired from leaders of peace, whom she references, “from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandala, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.” She identifies and recalls these distinctive people to relate them to herself and grasp the audience’s attention. Malala creates an impression on her audience by allowing them to connect influential speakers to herself and her desire to make an immense change in the world, similarly to those who she has referenced.

Continuing, Yousafzai juxtaposes the idea that the Taliban would defeat and put her down through their unspeakable actions resulting in the ceasing of her speaking out about education, with the outcome that they, in fact, enlightened her and rather provided her with motivation and support from many. Instead of sheepishly mentioning the Taliban, Yousafzai assuredly announces, “They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came thousands of voices,” she emphasizes her strength and courage in the face of adversity. Rather than giving in to the Taliban's wants and fueling their inclination for further attacks, Yousazai tries to amplify the attention on her attack in an effort to draw more awareness to the issue of women and children around the world failing to receive a proper education. She continues this strategy by explaining that obstacles make people stronger, “we realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced,” continuing that this terrible event does not have to have a terrible outcome. By logically enhancing her speech through contrast, she furthers her idea that people can be made stronger in the face of adversity, just as she has done and will continue to do. Yousafzai has turned a cynical act into a positive effort as she has gained more support, proving that nothing stands in her way to achieving equal education for women.

By constructing and organizing her speech with repetitive word choice, the implication and reference towards significant figures, and effectively comparing and contrasting the resemblance between the two ideas, Malala Yousafzai respectably conveys her message that an equalized platform for education will continue to grow through the support of many. Through serving her audience and spreading her viewpoints, she creates the ability to major advancement for equal education. Regardless of the hardships she has faced, Yousafzai continues to make the best of her life in order to improve the quality of others, with the hope of creating more opportunities for all. 

16 December 2021
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