I am a Bachelor English Language and Culture student and I have to write a thesis in order to graduate. I have handed in many proposals, but one after the other has been declined unfortunately. The topics were too complicated or there were not enough resources. Anyway, I finally came up with a subject which is doable in my opninion. However, I have been looking for a method to use, but I cannot find the right method. Let me explain what I would like to do.
I would like to analyse speeches. What makes a speech a good one? The use of rhetorical devices is quite important I think, but I could not find (academic) books that explain how good speeches are written. So this is problem 1.
If I had books that sum up the criteria of how to write speeches, I could use the theory to analyse the speeches. The speeches I want to analyse are famous speeches i.e. Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream', Kennedy's 'Ich bin ein Berliner', Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Adress'. I would analyse these speeches in terms of 'critical elements' that make the speeches work. After this analysis I would apply the same analysis to Obama's speeches, to see whether he used the same criteria as the others.
So my two main questions are:
1. How do you analyse speeches? Do you use content analysis as a method and are there books about this?
2. What makes a speech work? (I know about Aristotle, logic, pathos en ethos, but what else? Are there books which describe the criteria for a good speech?)
I did find many books but none of them seem to be what I am looking for. I really need to graduate and I hope someone can help me out, so I can start writing a proposal.
p.s. What I also find interesting is the use of rhetorical devices, e.g. repition, hyperboles, etc. Is there a method (quantitative of other) that can be used to analyse a text in this way?
I believe what works for you regarding analysing speeches is a Critical Discourse Analysis. You can find many instances of such analysis on line such as this one:
There are a lot of introductory books on this interdisciplinary area of analysis.