Dustin L. Black’s Keynote Address As An Example Of Cohesion Movie Reviews Examples
Dustin Lance Black was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Equality Utah convention. His speech focused on the homosexual presence in Mormon, Utah, and the importance of being honest with peers and family members, in order to remove the stigma surrounding “homosexuality.” He did this by telling his “own story” in a 20 minute speech that displayed excellent cohesion throughout.
Though Black opens with what one might describe as a distracted or off-topic opening statement, by sharing the news of his grandfather’s death; he uses a few simple sentences about family to transition between that announcement and his original introduction, which launches him into a speech that has all the distinctive features of a single cohesive work of literature.
The first primary feature of a cohesive work is the repetition of a key word, or key phrases, in order to give the text a sense of connectivity and flow. In this speech, those key phrases are centered on home and the family. “We were living in,” and “I was” followed by an age were both used as cohesive units, or repeated keys, throughout the speech. Ultimately, the speaker uses these repeated phrases, or motifs, in order to create cohesiveness. This also gives the speech a very anecdotal feel.
That sense of storytelling ties in perfectly with the next feature of cohesiveness, which is the known-new contract. The known-new contract concept establishes that each piece of new information is preceded by a piece of old information. To achieve this, Black consistently circled back to talk about the area he lived in, which became familiar to the listener, before introducing new information or concepts. He also used a play on words to move from telling his own story, to encouraging others to tell “their own story, the most powerful thing” they have in the fight for the acceptance homosexuality. You also see this cohesive concept in the structure of the piece as he moves from sentence to sentence. At one point, about 6 minutes into Part 1 of the speech, he says “The challenge is vision. Vision is” He literally allows one sentence to pick up where the previous sentence leaves off, pairing the known with the new.
The third and final feature of cohesion, is parallelism or the use of similar words and phrases to create the feeling of similarity or oneness. For example, early in the speech Black uses the phrase “unholy, unnatural, unworthy” to describe his early understanding of homosexuality. His uses this parallel structure again when speaking of his mother. Beginning each sentence with the words “My mom” as he describes her love for him, her acceptance of his sexuality, and his role as defender.
The use of cohesion is important because it increases the listener’s understanding of the speech, and makes it more pleasurable to hear. Cohesion allows the listener to anticipate, at least to some degree, what is coming next, and sets up a connectivity and flow that are easy to follow. Overall, Dustin L. Black uses cohesion masterfully to deliver a very crisp and clear message about the importance of sexual equality and homosexual acceptance in the Utah community.
Equality Utah 2010 Allies Dinner: Keynote Speaker Dustin Lance Black. Performed by David Lance Black. United States: Equality Utah, 2010. Film.
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