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The Narrative Structure of Obama's Speech on Osama's Death

Reading Obama’s speech on the previous post is like reading a story about a hero who wins a great battle. How can’t it be? I try to do small analysis of the text’s structure. If it is observed well, it is like a short story narrative.

It is started with the introduction about the story of September 11. It makes Americans remember their bitterest memories. It makes them remember the horrific tragedy happened to them. It craves to their deepest mind about the most painful wound in US’s history. This introduction functions to arouse these feelings, pain, grieve, loss and hatred. It also functions to introduce the problem of good vs evil represented by US vs Al Qaeda. It introduces us to the hero character and the evil character. The evil is Al Qaeda and Osama as the one who committed terrorism. While the hero is US (its government and its troops) for standing for its citizens, for the sake of securing them from further attacks. 

The body of the text conveys the sequence of events that narrate US military operation that led to Osama’s death. It conveys the story of years of chasing including the story of intelligence that “tirelessly” watches over Osama. Surely, it constructs US as a relentless hero because Obama states that the war on terrorism aims to protect US citizens and US allies. The body of the text constructs US as a hero that must struggle really hard to defeat their evil enemies (Al Qaeda – Osama).

The drama reaches its climax when finally Obama gave his order to carry out his final plan to seize Osama dead or alive. And the result is, he is captured dead after engaged in gunfights. In this part, the hero, US, is the champion. The hero defeats the evil embodiment, Osama. Recalling Obama, ‘Justice has been done’.

Winning over the source of evil, the hero restore justice, optimism, joy and hopes. “But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to”. This sentence represents American’s long lost optimism. Obama as if states that, hey Americans !! You still can do it !! The justice has been restored. So as other positive values that were lost with the attack of September 11. It is contrasted with the introduction of the text that arouses the negative feelings over the September 11 tragedy. So, does it mean that US also regain its status as superpower country?

Now, after the hero wins the trophy, will he return to the sanctuary? Apparently not. “The cause of securing our country is not complete”. The hero still feels that the sanctuary is not safe yet. It still needs to secure its sanctuary. But from what threats? The death of an evil will give birth to another evil. That’s how the pattern flows. For example, in superhero narratives, a hero has to fight enemies after enemies. It is like a never ending battle. So does it mean that the war on terrorism is still going on? Apperantly, this is also questioned by Oprah Winfery at her twitter account shortly after the news of Osama’s death was released. She said ‘does this mean the war is over?’ Sorry Oprah, it does not turn out to be so.

So, the speech’s narration conveys some interesting points. It can be concluded that US gain its optimism back. It will surely influence on their popular culture product soon. There will be more characters that celebrate optimism rather than pessimistic view as before today. The other point that can be noted is that US’s intention to prolong the war as they still feel somehow insecure. They need to feel so. When Germany lost World War I, they came back massively and brutally in World War II. Let’s not hope the same pattern reemerges. Peace for all. 


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