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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: The 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address Summary An opportunity to present a commencement speech in college is always an honor. It can be taken as an opportunity to speak to young individuals on matters that they will remember for the rest of their life, as well as open their eyes to what the real world holds and present an alternate view of what it entails…
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Download file to see previous pages The speech is especially memorable for its remark on firearm suicide, which when taken alongside his later suicide, leads to an increased emotional attachment to the text. In the words present in the speech, Foster makes a concise argument regarding the need for students of a capitalist society to be more aware of their surroundings and the generative possibilities that may be in existence behind antagonisms and frustrations encountered everyday. Wallace opens his speech with a parable-like story of two young fish. He says, “Two young fish are swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning boys. How's the water?" The two young fish swim on for a bit. Eventually, one of them looks over at the other and goes, what the hell is water (Wallace & Kenyon College 4). Wallace opens his speech in this way with an intended salute to the standard requirement for most speeches in America, which tend to use a parable to lead into the main idea. This becomes the theme of the entire speech. The most important and obvious realities are usually the most difficult to discuss. Wallace discards any mention on the importance of a University degree in moving the student forward, preferring to discuss knowledge that can be applied in the world. He goes on to make the point that a University degree does not reflect so much on one’s capacity to think, but instead it reflects the preference of what one will think. While this seems obvious, Wallace is candid in stressing the value of that which is obvious. Foster moves on to contend that all we know concerning the world is visible and under our noses in the media. He contends that, deep down, even when it does not show on us, we see ourselves as the universes’ center. The emotions and thoughts of other individuals must be communicated for us to know them, but it is only possible to focus on what is ours since it is the foremost urge and we consider it real (Wallace & Kenyon College 4). Foster contends that hope exists if only we realize the hardwired setting that defaults to self-centeredness and make moves in resetting it. He moves that there is a need to shift views and see the world through new lenses while shattering the lens, which sees only the self. Wallace shifts gears while sticking to the original theme, and almost comers across as sympathizing with the graduating students in that they have little idea of the rat race that is ahead of them. He discusses a scenario that rarely makes it onto commencement speeches by giving a daily example that includes, in clear detail, waking up early, traffic jams and long hour days, shopping for dinner groceries, poor lighting in the stores, traffic jams back home, bed, and all this again (Wallace & Kenyon College 5). While graduates have witnessed this lifestyle with their parents, they have not gone through it personally. The reason that people are stuck into the cycle is due to the universe-center default setting, as well as one’s own emotions and needs dictating the priorities from the surroundings. However, again, individuals have the choice to place emphasis on the obvious. Wallace is especially emphatic on the need to shift to the obvious. He points out the day-to-day scenario using a different lens. For instance, why get mad in the traffic jam while everyone else is also unhappy? He also ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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