Analytical essay of Barack Obama: Speech at the First Day of School

On September 8, 2009, former President Barack Obama held a speech at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.

The speech mainly focuses on the students and the importance of their education. The students’ engagement and commitment to school is not only important for their own lives and future but for the whole country as well.

In the speech, Barack Obama speaks directly to the audience, ‘’Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? (...) I’m glad you all could join us today.” (ll. 5-7), which gives you the feeling that he is very present and genuine.

He is trying to clarify that getting up early in the morning to go to school is worth the trouble because an education is very important for the future of every individual and America.

Obama is very determined to reach the young people and they are clearly his target audience, ‘’I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility (...). I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility (...).” (ll. 29-31). At this point he is trying to clarify that each student has responsibilities like showing up, paying attention and listening even though you have supportive parents, a good school and great teachers.

That might be eye opening for some of them because as a student you often forget how important your effort is.

The way Obama gets the young people’s attention is by referring to relatable things and telling about his own experience, ‘’Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early.

A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table.” (ll. 19-21). The speech has quite a lot of repetition and certain words as ‘responsibility’ and ‘education’ mentioned several times.

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