In September 2014, Emma Watson gave a speech at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to open the curtain of the United Nations women’ s movement “He For She”. The “He for her” campaign is an activity designed to motivate men to participate in the fight for gender equality. In the speech session, Emma Watson used eloquence, profound insight, and female identity to use the charm of language to convey political ideas and display personal charm successfully. Therefore, Her wonderful speech won the recognition and appreciation of many people. By studying the application of the identification theory in Emma Watson’ s “He For She” speech, this paper discusses the application of this rhetoric and the purpose achieved.
The first part of this paper reviews research states of Identification Theory. Kenneth Burke’s study was mainly introduced along with researchers in China to help readers better understanding how Identification Theory work and the difference between the domestic and the foreign. The second of this paper introduce the background of Emma Watson’s speech and then analyze its influence and reasons for success. The third part discuss how does the speech work under Identification Theory considering transforming personal pronouns, arousing sympathy and provoking anger.
Key words: The identification theory; Rhetoric; speech
2 Literature review
2.1 Burke and Identification Theory
2.2 Studies of Identification Theory at Home and Abroad
3 Emma Watson’s Speech “He for She”
3.1 Background of Speech
3.2 Influence of Speech
3.3 Reason for success
4 “He for She” Speech under Identification Theory
4.1 Achieving Identification by transforming personal pronouns
4.2 Achieving Identification by arousing sympathy
4.3 Achieving Identification by provoking anger
Emma Watson’s Speech in United Nations under Identification Theory
Kenneth Burke is a new rhetoric master in the 20th century in the United States. His rhetorical system is extensive and profound. Its core is “recognition theory.” Rhetoric is a communicative activity that regulates interpersonal relationships. The same emphasis was placed on resolving differences in communication and achieving mutual understanding. As a common rhetorical strategy, the same strategy is a conscious choice of language by the speaker in a specific context, which has a special rhetorical effect. The study found that Emma Watson used the “identification theory” several times in her “he is her” speech. This rhetorical method made her speech process extremely appealing and persuasive. This situation has great benefits for effectively eliminating the space-time gap between the audience, which in turn can trigger resonance and empathy between people, further stimulating the appeal of the speech and the audience’s understanding. In terms of rhetorical content, Emma Watson mainly uses Burke’s unity of mind and morality, as well as the combination of three rhetorical models. On many occasions, she mainly uses rhetorical forms in the form of repetition, progressive forms, and rhetorical forms. The whole speech was more passionate and ingrained. Throughout the 12-minute speech, Emma Watson combined these three rhetorical forms and rhetorical forms in an attempt to find common values with the audience, show noble qualities, and inspire common emotions. Referring to the gender discrimination and injustice faced by all men and women in the world today, she called on the public to work together against “common enemies”, such as gender discrimination, inequality of rights and so on. The misunderstanding is mainly to use the first person plural to convey her thoughts to the public and persuade them to accept her arguments unconsciously. Through repeated emphasis and repetition, Emma Watson has been trying to convey her ideas to each audience through a progressive model of organization and logic, and clearly introduce the audience into the language world it creates. It further leads the audience to resonate with themselves, so that the two parties ‘thoughts collide and reach the state of synchronization of ideas. In the course of this speech, Emma Watson used a lot of rhetoric, including comparison and irony, to make the language and context of the speech more vivid and more compassionate. Through the statistics, it is found that Emma Watson is more inclined to adopt two rhetorical strategies of sympathy and misunderstanding in the speech process. Finally, the rhetorical effect of the same strategy in its presidential debate is also analyzed, mainly by praising oneself, attacking opponents, and self-defense.
2 Literature review