The American foreign policy of John F. Kennedy: A metaphorical critique



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Texas Tech University


The questions guiding this study are, "How do Kennedy's foreign policy speeches communicate his philosophies about international relations?" and more specifically, "What imagery and metaphor is presented by Kennedy to depict these philosophies." The purpose of this study is to explore the portrayal of foreign policy as presented bv Kennedy in six foreign policy speeches, given from 1961-1963. This will be done through the examination of metaphor and imagery used in those speeches. Lakofif and Johnson (1981) have found that metaphor is a wonderful method to study language and subsequently the culture that is created by that language. They found that, " . .since metaphorical expressions in our language are tied to metaphorical concepts . . . we can use metaphorical linguistic expressions to study the nature of metaphorical concepts and to gain an understanding of the metaphorical nature of our activities" (Lakofif & Johnson, 1981, p. 290).

It is hoped that this study will lead to an understanding of the images created by Kennedy and, therefore, an understanding of the Cold War. These metaphors should offer a view into one of the world's more influential Cold War rhetors. In addition this analysis should provide insight into the structuring of the Cold War and the creation of a nuclear war mindset.



Presidents -- United States -- Messages, Metaphor -- Political aspects, Rhetoric -- Political aspects, Figures of speech, Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963, United States -- Foreign relations -- 1961-1963, United States -- Politics and government -- 1961-1963