On the morning of September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center Towers one and two were destroyed in an act of terrorism. New York City and the entire country were shocked, traumatized, and infuriated. Later that day President George W. Bush gave a speech to the American people. President Bush’s five minute long speech was one of the most important and influential speeches of the 21st century. He got into the hearts and heads of the American people with the use of rhetoric.
Throughout the speech President Bush uses rhetorical language many times and in several different ways. He especially uses pathos all through his 9/11 speech. He gets to people’s emotions by trying to connect the victims and family to the listener by naming what all the people where, “secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors.” Any of those positions or roles could have been the listener’s mother, father, brother, sister, or friend. George Bush uses lots of repetition in his speech. He uses words like “great”, “strong”, and “powerful” to describe America. He is presenting the theme that America as strong and powerful as ever, even though it has just been shattered and shell-shocked. As he talks about the people who conspired to destroy the towers and kill the U.S. citizens he uses the word evil multiple times. He never describes the enemies as just “people” they are terrorists and the worst of human nature. In an article by Valentina Bartolucci in the Journal of Language and Politics, she states that, “This rhetorical move is part of the well-known ideological strategy of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation…This rhetorical device is commonly adopted in political discourse and may be described in terms of a strategy of “prediction” in which the objective is to label social actors in particular ways – in this case, negatively.” Bush puts the terrorists in the worst light he possibly can and...
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