9/11 Address to the Nation

This study guide will help you analyze the 9/11 Address to the Nation by George W. Bush. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, analysis, topic, speaker, audience, language, modes of persuasion, circumstances, and intention.

Presentation of the speech

Title: “9/11 Address to the Nation”
Speaker: George W. Bush
Where: Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.
When: 11th of September, 2011, after the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., which happened the same day.

George Walker Bush (b. 1946) was the 43rd President of the United States. He also served as a Governor of Texas before being elected President. When he delivered this speech, he was in the first year of his first term as President.

You can watch the speech here.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


At the beginning of the speech, Bush tries to inspire a sense of compassion and sorrow in the audience, as he describes the victims of the terrorist attacks in a relatable way: “The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors.”

While describing the attacks, Bush creates a sense of sadness, surprise, and anger, reflecting the emotions most likely felt by those who witnessed the attacks.

Repetition and enumeration

The speaker uses enumeration and repetition several times to underline various ideas in his speech. The first example of repetition is found at the start of the speech and is meant to emphasize how the terrorist attacks affected many aspects of American life: “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack”. The speaker repeatedly uses the word “our” in a type of repetition called anaphora (the repetition of a word at the beginning of successive phrases). This is meant to emphasize the shared nature of the experience of the 9/11 attacks.

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9/11 Address to the Nation

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