STATEMENT OF INTENTION. Danny Cronyn.
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The purpose of my speech is to illustrate how conforming to stereotypes and societal expectations can have a homogenising effect on identity and restrict our capacity to be individuals. I wish to show to my audience how the innate human need to belong is so strong that we subconsciously conform in order to feel a sense of connection and how external factors such as societal norms, stereotypes, rituals and traditions can be defining factors of our identities, even if we do not realise just how much.
This will be done through using examples of these factors to which we intuitively conform, such as being clothed, getting presents on Christmas, girls shaving their legs and not picking our nose or farting in public. These examples of things to which we conform to without questioning will display to the audience the magnitude of influence that stereotypes and expectations have on our identity.
Writing in the form of a persuasive speech was the best method of communicating my purpose and contention (that we simply accept what the majority and masses do as ‘the norm’ and conform to said norm without even thinking twice about it and that in doing this, we limit our ability to be individuals) to the audience as I am able to use expressive skills such as voice and facial gesture to strengthen and support my arguments and am also able to physically see the audience’s reaction to my piece.
The use of a questioning tone and concerned and confused facial gestures will act as visual and physical representations of the tone of my piece and through this, I will push the audience to question their way of life and drive them to see the conformity and error of their homogonised identities. By performing my speech to a live audience, I will be able to play off of audience reaction and cater my tone and intensity according to their mood and response to the issue.
My concerned, questioning and confused tone will reflect the way I feel about conformist lifestyle and my strong-worded and assuring language (must, indubitably, alarmed) will push the audience to believe that I have a well developed and highly thought out contention and assure them that being a non-conformist individual is the best way to live their lives.
Through contrasting the benefits of uniqueness and individuality with the restricting aspects of conformist living, and along with my strong-worded arguments, I anticipate that the audience will side with me in believing that we simply accept what the majority and masses do as ‘the norm’ and conform to said norm without even thinking twice about it and that in doing this, we limit our ability to be individuals.
I have aimed my speech at the ‘common man’ because the everyday person – bland, boring, conformist and easily persuaded – is the perfect candidate for my speech, which will hopefully push them to question their conformity and to embrace their individual identities. It is aimed at them because I believe that these people are blissfully unaware of how their standardised and ‘by-the-book’ lifestyles are negatively impacting on their lives. I wish to show them how embracing individuality could greatly improve the way they feel about themselves and the way in which they live their day-to-day lives.
Meaning and my central idea will be conveyed through these contrasting lifestyles and through highlighting the homogenising effect that conforming to stereotypes and expectations has on our individuality and identity. My central idea and contention that we simply accept what the majority and masses do as ‘the norm’ and conform to said norm without even thinking twice about it and that in doing this, we limit our ability to be individuals was inspired by the collection of poems Sometimes Gladness by Bruce Dawe, in hich it is proposed that belonging to society shapes our identity, but in doing so, also has a homogenising effect and that the rituals and traditions of the society of which we are a part, also shape us. I agree with this idea and believe that being conformist and homogenised beings is a negative thing, that we don’t question societal norms, expectations and stereotypes nearly enough, we merely accept them without even considering the possibility that they could be wrong and that rituals and traditions of our culture shape us more than we notice.
These key ideas (‘belonging to society shapes our identity, but in doing so, also has a homogenising effect’ and ‘the rituals and traditions of the society of which we are a part shape us’), which are presented in the poems “Enter Without So Much As Knocking” and “Condolences of the Season” are the concepts which influences my central idea that we simply accept what the majority and masses do as ‘the norm’ and conform to said norm without even thinking twice about it and that in doing this, we limit our ability to be individuals.
In the poem “Enter Without So Much AS Knocking” the idea that belonging to society shapes our identity, but also has a homogenising effect is explored through showing the life cycle of a person from birth to death and how he conformed to societal norms his entire life. Through showing how we conform to day-to-day commands and norms such as “WALK. DON’T WALK. TURN LEFT…NO BREATHING EXCEPT BY ORDER. BEWARE OF THIS.
WATCH OUT FOR THAT”, Dawe shows the homogenising effect that conformist lifestyle has on people and the ways in which they conform to stereotypes and expectations far more than we realise. In “Condolences of the Season” Bruce Dawe shows how our identity is like a kit, a puzzle to be put together. He shows the ways in which rituals, family and other external factors shape our identity through showing generations of a family pointing our similarities in a small child at a family gathering.
These features will be reflected in my speech when I talk about how external factors such as family traditions and rituals (presents on Christmas) and societal expectations (wearing clothing) influence our identity greatly, sometimes without us even realising. The structural element of beginning and ending a piece with a near identical statement which is shown in “Enter Without So Much AS Knocking” and Soliloquy For One Dead” will be reflected in my piece by beginning and ending my speech with my contention (we simply accept what the majority and masses do as ‘the norm’ and conform to said norm without even thinking twice about it and that in doing this, we limit our ability to be individuals) to show a distinct beginning and ending to my piece and also to reinforce the contention. I want my contention to be the first thing that the audience hears when they come in and the last thing they hear when they leave so that it stick in their mind and is something they are forever considering.
Another structural element from Dawe’s poems that I will include is metaphor. Metaphor is shown in “The Tackle Box” through the use of a hook to be symbolic of/a metaphor for the pain that a father inflicted on his family. I will use the metaphor of sheep in my speech to represent how people flock together much like sheep and simply follow what the majority are doing without question. This metaphoric comparison between human beings and sheep (an animal) will push the audience to look unfavourably upon their conformist actions and sway them to make individual choices.
My speech supports the prompt (we conform to stereotypes and expectations far more than we think) by showing the ways in which we conform to societal expectations with no questioning as to why, we simply just do it
Remember. This is just a sample.
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