Rhetorical Devices in The Filipino Flag Rises – Alone by Carlos P. Romulo

Rhetorical devices are often used to make any written or spoken discourse more persuasing, more appealing, and more effective. The lack of it may not entice the readers or listeners to consider and think about the ideas and concepts presented to them, thus acquiring little amount of integrity to be able to persuade. Insufficient use of rhetorical devices may also cause the piece to be too bland to be appealing, all the more intriguing. Like spices added to the food, they perk up the taste and give a different kind and feel of eating experience. Enough amount of usage of these devices enables one to be more effective in conveying the message he wants to convey in a more persuasive and artistic manner.

Several rhetorical devices are found in this essay written by Carlos P. Romulo, a Filipino Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and president of the fourth General Assembly of the United Nations. The rhetorical devices used are not explicitly versed, they are even almost just suggested, but they can still be identified despite of those and they can still cast the impact that makes the essay remarkable despite of the simplicity.

The opening sentences already present anadiplosis, wherein a word at the end of one phrase in this case is repeated at the beginning of another.

“Suddenly there was a deep silence… a silence that was the prelude to a glorious event.”

This rhetorical device somewhat creates a feel of suspense executed in an almost poetic manner. We could only imagine the lines being spoken as a prologue to a years-long running play. This seems to be the feel that anadiplosis presents as how it is used it the essay.

Polysyndeton, or the insertion of conjunctions before each word in a list, is also identified, although not explicitly used as well.

“Thick cumulus masses gathered and shifted and blended in never-ending succession… “

We would sometimes observe young children speaking in a manner identical to the function of the said device. This gives off a somewhat light tone to the text since it appears to be child-like, and a sense of genuity since it sounds like it is spoken live.

There were also several instances where a sudden break in a sentence’s grammatical structure, or anacoluthon, was used. The way it was presented seems to vividly present the setting more and not a completely different shift in idea.

“And the enveloping silence was so thick – it was almost audible.”

It tends to give more emphasis to the phrase after the break, doing the job of describing the scene effectively with the use of only a few words,

The next line also possesses the same rhetorical device, only this time the ‘break in grammatical structure’ presents another device, the anaphora, wherein one or more words is repeated at the head of consecutive phrases, clauses, or sentences, and in this case, words.

“In a moment, we saw a silver pole – so tall, so bright, so magnificent.”

The next rhetorical devices found were also anaphora, and this time, they’re between sentences, and again, it was not explicitly used, but nonetheless identifiable. It also presents this sense of emotional build up as the author dug the depths of his sentimentality.

“Beneath it we fought the epic battles of Bataan and Corregidor. Beneath it we felt that this was not a mere patch of tropical soil… “

The lines from the essay to follow also present anaphora, although it also suggests amplification, or an expansion of detail to clarify a point.

“This was a piece of America. This was American Democracy. This was the last outpost of freedom in the Pacific.”

Another piece of anacoluthon was presented, and again, it was more of like a more definite description of the moment.

“At this point the two flags met on the way – one going up, the other coming down.”

Anaphora was next used in a paragraph in the essay.

“This was the voice that sustained us through the long, unequal fight. This was the promise that now found consummate realization and fulfilment. It was worth the sterling valor and the unspeakable sacrifice. It was worth the blood, sweat, tears, and treasure that any nation could offer upon the altar of immaculate liberty”.

The next rhetorical device breaks the chain of the of those previously often used, as it now presents metanoia, or the qualification of a statement to either diminish or strengthen its tone, as in this case below (strengthen).

“Guns – big guns of the Army – began to bark not in accents of defiance but in salvos of applause.”

Those last parts of the line could also pass as an antithesis, or the contrast within parallel phrases, as in “… bark not in accents of defiance but in salvos of applause”.

The following line presents anacoluthon and anadiplosis, and we can also add anaphora to top that up. It could be viewed as a combination of these three rhetorical devices.
“And the rain blended with our tears – tears of joy, of gratitude, and of pride in supreme accomplishment.”

The next would be another case of anacoluthon, and it is also like the previous others, which describes the definite object it is aiming at.

“Above us flew for the first time and over this embattled land, alone, happy, and unperturbed amidst the sweeping gales and whipping rain – the Flag of the Philippines.”

Finally, the essay ends in a striking epizeuxis, also called palilogia, which is a mere repetition of words, intending to leave a lasting impression on the reader, and also reflects the author’s intensified hopes.
“GOD! May it stay there ever, ever, ever, ever.”

The most prominent rhetorical devices present in the essay are anacoluthon and anaphora, both presented five times. The main feel of the text is about the intense emotion of attaining freedom, and these most prominent rhetorical devices used somehow reflect the author’s emotional state – genuinely grateful, intensely hopeful.

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