Bush's 9/11 Speech

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Jocelyn Hankins
Professor Kelly Murphy
College Composition II
26 February 2012
Rhetorical Essay of George W. Bush’s Speech, 9/11 Address to the Nation
I read and watched George W. Bush’s “9/11 Address to the Nation” and found the speech to be ineffective. The President’s speech started off and ended efficiently with it’s appeal to pathos, however, it’s lack in logos overshadowed this and made the speech unsuccessful. This essay will examine the President’s use of rhetorical appeals and how they made his speech a failure.

The president’s speech started off with an appeal to pathos by sounding sympathetic and playing on the audiences’ emotions. He spoke of all the victims the attack effected. Bush says, “The victims were...men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors.” Bush also used descriptive words that almost painted a picture of how horrific the attack was in saying, “the pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge--huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger.” The second paragraph of the speech also appealed to pathos by Bush acknowledging his audiences’ sense of patriotism stating, “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Bush appealed to pathos and ethos when he says, “praying for those who grieve, for the children whose lives have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security have been threatened.” Bush acknowledges that the majority of his audience shares the same values and beliefs. Also using an appeal to ethos, George Bush included the bible verse Psalm 23 and spoke of being comforted by a “Power greater than any of us.” He wants to appeal to our sense of patriotism and show his sympathetic side by talking about our great country and how this will not “dent the steel of American resolve” or “touch...
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