Essay about Speech : Speech By David Foster Wallace

Essay about Speech : Speech By David Foster Wallace

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Commencement speeches are often a sending off to the graduates by a highly regarded person, and is suppose to have a purpose. The purpose of the speech is to: motivate, inspire, encourage, provoke, a call to action, and to give hope to the graduates as well as congratulate them on their achievements. Often the speaker is someone who is famous or have been successful in their life. In regards to how the speech is given, it usually starts out with the speaker congratulating the class. They will typically try to relate to the audience by making fun of themselves to lower them to the graduates level. A conventional speech follows these conventions, but not all stay within the bounds, mostly due to wanting to be remembered or heard. David Foster Wallace, an American novelist, deviates from the typical commencement speech in 2005 at Kenyon University. Wallace challenges the traditional commencement speech in an attempt to encourage the graduates to defy their own natural default setting, and to fathom that no one is special. He accomplishes this by teasing the default setting of the speech itself. Despite Wallace 's speech being mainly non - conventional, he starts off following the basic format but battles with overcoming the default setting into which he can 't even fully avoid.
Wallace 's speech in some ways conform to a conventional speech. He immediately brings himself down to their level. "If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I 'd advise you go ahead, because I 'm sure going to"(Wallace 1). Like Rowling who in her speech at Harvard in 2008 who had mentioned she was so fearful and had nausea that she lost weight, he poked fun at himself by showing that he was nervous. Unlike a conventional speech however, Wallace seems t...


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...ften the mind is a terrible master and that is what most people who do commit suicide shoot the master. This is strange due to the fact that most speeches are suppose to be happy. He mentions this because he wants them to realize that the fish in the story is everyone. We are all swimming in life, in reality and are trying to figure things out. No one is special. We are all in this together. This is life, this is reality, and the only way to truly be happy is to choose to think that it isn 't all about you or the world is not out to get you. Just like the Kingsolver, who in her speech tries to emphasize the same but in the sense that we should focus on community.
Despite trying to avoid the clichés of a speech, Wallace can 't help it, but he tries to get his point across by using unorthodox methods in an attempt to leave the graduates humbled in the experience.

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Speech : Speech By David Foster Wallace

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