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William Lyon Phelps Speech Analysis

William Lyon Phelps Speech Analysis


Basically, a speech refers to any vocalized nature of human language. Indeed, this form of human language is essentially based on a combination of lexical and names in a syntactic manner drawn from a wide variety of words. Indeed, every spoken word in a speech comprised of a phonetic combination of a set of consonants and vowels units of speech sounds. In the given case, the speaker therein is William Lyon Phelps who was a professional educator, and an author in America. William delivered this speech on 6th April 1933 during I a radio broadcast event. In his speech, William carries emotional feeling towards the importance of books besides encouraging people to make their own write-ups. Essentially, the author provides the critical picture of a situation of reading for the sake of understanding the extensive literature of people accorded due respect on the historical accounts. However, the speaker capitalizes on the importance of developing a reading culture of people. However, he claims that being an author oneself could be even more promising in reading as one reading won written work could be more effective and satisfactory in due course.

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Caring for the books has also been a major theme in the speech. Initially, the speaker states that every prospective reader using a text should ensure that it does not wear out. While at it, the speaker acknowledges the unexpected scenario, where the book may sustain damages but provides a concessionary measure. On account of the latter, the speaker states that readers should amend the torn segments and keep the book safe. Reading is not also limited to singular cover. This implies that a reader should not be limited to reading any material once but also developing a culture of recurrent readings. Similarly, the speaker proposes that, in order to foster remembrance especially in specific episodes of the book coverage, a reader should not constitute markings on the book whether personal or public texts. Marking on specific sections of the book which carries thematic and strong messages that carries significant sense to the reader may be essential in subsequent reading as it may exempt the reader from covering the whole text (Hassan, 2011). However, it poses a significant damage to the book and maybe unhelpful to other readers. As a result, subsequent reading may be very hard for other readers especially in the public arena.

However, for personal books, the speaker proposes that marking would constitute one of the critical reading habits that enhance re-reading prospects. In this regard, the speaker asserts that it is useless to win any book if one does not read it quite often if not all the time. In the excerpt, the speaker states, "you should own no book that you are afraid to mark up, or afraid to place on the table, wide open and face down." This implies that it is not only important to own a book but also to utilize it through developing a reading culture all the time. Essentially, this implies that before making a personal library advocated for by the speaker, it is important to establish a good reading culture first (In Maitra & In McGowan, 2012). Consequently, any prospective reader would have a collection of a book in which they are ready to put down their heads and eyes glaring on it at all the times.

Marking the personal books while reading is particularly essential in promoting memory, regarding critical sayings and concepts conveyed in the book. In particular, the speaker uses the metaphoric comparison of the markings with the act of visiting a forest that one had previously blazed a trail on. Indeed, marking creates a sense of acceptance and pleasure in re-reading the book while at the same time making clear observations of the parts that had been previously encountered. Furthermore, the speaker advocates for the development of a private library through a collection of reading materials by tapping the human culture of personal ownership in absence of any critical negative motive.

Besides, the speaker describes the features a good personal library comprising of shelves which are openly displayed. Similarly, the speaker creates a visual scenario where a reader has a personal library with a collection of books from different authors and different thematic notes. In this regard, the speaker compares a personal library with a group of good friends carrying different but essential ideas even at a time one is alone. The speaker creates an emotional feeling of companionship in the case of a developed private library which does not only offer physical satisfaction but also psychologically through a companionship of intimate friends (Peterson-Falzone & Karnell, et al. 2010). In order to draw practical scenario, the speaker uses his personal life experience where he states that he has spent most of his life indoors with the intimate reading culture within a collection of an excess of six thousand books. Being a renowned author in America, the speaker could afford to convince his audience more persuasively. On account of the huge collection and subsequent use, the speakers state that readers can consume all the books over time. In particular, William asserts that form personal experience, having read the six thousand books and in some case twice is confirmatory to the possibility of using the wide collection.

In his remarks, "Books are of the people, by the people, for the people", the speaker asserts that books produce better companionship than any living friends. Furthermore, the speaker also claims that books provide an opportunity to reclaim competent ideas from living and non-living authors, essential for the current and future progress which could have otherwise been impossible to reach out to physically. In particular, the speaker points at the possibility of gathering important values brought about by the events unfolding from such authors as, Shakespeare, Dumas and the Socrates who could have otherwise been unreachable by physical means. In this regard, the speaker confirms the important role played by an individual as an audience to the author of any book as a noble duty.


In Maitra, I., & In McGowan, M. K. (2012). Speech and harm: Controversies over free speech.

Peterson-Falzone, S. J., Hardin-Jones, M. A., & Karnell, M. P. (2010). Cleft palate speech. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby/Elsevier.

Hassan, B.-E. A. (2011). Literary translation: Aspects of pragmatic meaning. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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