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Noel Pearson

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Noel Pearson’s speech, ‘An Australian History for us All,’ explores the divides between our community and the issues that prevent us as a nation from achieving reconciliation. Ultimately, throughout his exordium Pearson is excessively humble, ‘it is my honour to have been invited… Alas, I cannot promise my teacher’s rigour ,’ this diminution of his prominent political position equalises Pearson with his audience. He successfully characterises himself as being selflessly modest, a successful tool in capturing our attention, his choice to do this in the exordium is also an example of kairos, his appealing attitude is naturally attractive, guaranteeing our fixated attention throughout the duration of his speech. Pearson additionally employs a variety of quotes to both enforce his credibility and portray society’s ignorant attitude towards reconciliation.

We see this when he quotes Professor Bill Stanner, the ‘Great Australian Silence,’ becomes a metaphor of our refusal to address the Aboriginal struggle on a national level, objectifying the Australian nation as absent minded. Furthermore, Pearson makes noticeable appeals to pathos and logos, encouraging an emotional and logical response identifiable by all of us. Pearson in his battle for reconciliation, provides syllogistic reasoning and structure on solving the inherent ‘guilt’ issue, ‘it is not about guilt. It is about opening our hearts a little bit… and to have an open and generous heart…means that when you acknowledge the wrongs of the past, you might try to do so ungrudgingly… there must be some respect for that.’ Additionally, the inclusive pronouns that Pearson employs in this statement make his proposed solution exclusive, applying to both indigenous and non indigenous peoples as such he unites his audience, generating logos through the universal nature and structural flow of his statement.

Additionally, Pearson goes on to compare the reasoning he provides to the internationally notorious issue of Jewish genocide and displacement, ‘it would be inappropriate to say to Jewish people today, “the treatment f your people has been terrible…now look forward.”’ This comparison successfully establishes similarities between the Jewish and Aboriginal plight and effectively establishes an emotional response, as we as an audience are encouraged to see Aboriginals as victims of war and discrimination. Hence this generation of pathos, allows us to consequently understand the importance of reconciliation to our Indigenous community and national image. Summarily, Pearson’s craftsmanship – established through his use of a holistic variety of language conventions and structures – builds the concept and idea of reconciliation. Thus, both ideas and craftsmanship contribute to the memorable nature of Pearson’s speech.

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