Change Essay All change has consequences. In Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address 1863, John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Speech 1963 and “Forgotten Jelly” by Megan Jacobson a story from the perspective of an overweight girl who is blinded by her attitude from her friend’s battle with anorexia, both the positive and negative consequences of change are explored.
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The effects of change are demonstrated in many different ways, however, they all attempt to convey a central aspect of change; that all change has ramifications.
As highlighted in Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, he conveys to the audience that they must put aside their differences and instead draw on the heritage that they share. His phrase “our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation” unites the audience as they ponder their similarities with the South. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address also reflects on the history shared by all Americans as he attempts to unite them behind the goal of world peace in the context of the Cold War “We are the heirs of the first revolution… Let the word go forth that the torch has passed to a new generation of Americans”.
This utilization of emotive language aims to unify of all America by provoking their natural patriotism. The greatest barrier to change can be our sense of self. Jacobson’s “Forgotten Jelly” explores this through the eyes of an overweight girl who fails to recognise the trauma her friend is going through. Jacobson employs hyperbole to convey to the reader how self-obsessed the narrator is. “Body quaking more than Tokyo” suggests that she wants to draw focus to herself. It also supports how badly damaged her self body image is.
This is also explained by Lincoln when he invokes the “great civil war” America is engaged in, which he is not sure the nation can endure. Lincoln varies his sentences to emphasise the importance of the crossroads the nation is at and how they must look beyond themselves to a bigger picture. This notion is illuminated in his words “but in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. ” A united will can effect great change. In Kennedy’s Inaugural Address he knew he must inspire his people to enable them to help bring peace throughout the world.
The United States was again at a crossroads with the Cold War at its height, Kennedy had become president by the narrowest of margins in history. His speech represents a turning point as nearly 75% of Americans expressed approval of Kennedy following his address. Kennedy immediately invoked both God and the shared heritage of the American citizens, to immediately unite his audience behind his call to unity as well as infusing his speech with a sense of higher purpose. I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed. ” Similarly, Lincoln is the leader of a country at a critical point, the civil war has dragged on for several years. He invokes the Declaration of Independence the most sacred text in America to emphasise the fact that they must unite, before they destroy themselves. His reliance on inclusive language, specifically the word “we” which threads throughout the speech, binds the audience to a shared goal, it is as if the speaker in in effect all Americans.
Lincoln also employs biblical referencing “fourscore and seven years ago”, the elegant ring of the biblical phrasing draws his audience to him as if he represents a form of higher power. Change can have both positive and negative consequences. This idea is conveyed in all three texts. Lincoln explains that the positive aspects will be that all men will be equal after the completion of the war. However, he also expresses regret that it has come to the point where people must give their lives so that everyone can be treated justly.
This idea is underscored in the quote “All men are created equal… those here gave their lives so that that nation may live. ” Kennedy too notes that change has brought about many great endeavours as well as the “power to abolish all forms of human poverty. ” He does express concern over that fact that mankind “has the power to abolish all forms of human life. ” And Jacobson reflects on how the persona is now able to realise that she is not the centre of the universe, she is now able to help her friend in her darkest hour and become a better person for it. No-one noticed me… I didn’t notice me. ” This places in the spotlight the mental change she undertakes by employing repetition to highlight the fact. Change does not always come easily and can take time to accomplish. The complexity of change is emphasised by both Kennedy and Lincoln. Kennedy, whilst uniting his people behind him in a pledge for world peace explains that this change may not even happen in our lifetime. “This will not be finished in the first 100 days… The first 1000 days… Nor perhaps in our lifetime on the planet.
But let us begin. ” This draws his people in to him with the utilization of prepetition to illustrate the fact they can be world leaders. Lincoln conveys this message through the phrase “dedicated to the great task remaining before us” which employs high modality to illuminate that while they are dedicating this war cemetery to the dead. They must remember that their duty is to the living and fostering a better world for the future generations. Accordingly, change has consequences, both positive and negative.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that when resisted it can undermine national unity and indeed perpetuate war. Change can also be embraced positively not only by a certain group of people, but the whole world as represented in Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. Change can come without choice and lead to new insights, as revealed in Jacobson’s “Forgotten Jelly. ” Change transforms, be it mental or physical, individual or universal it allows people to grow. Word count 1,131 By Jim Nash