A Rhetorical Analysis Of This Is Water By David Foster Wallace

Words: 1216
Pages: 5

This is Water Rhetorical Analysis

David Foster Wallace argued that banal platitudes, although lacking entirely in originality and rendered among the dullest and most obvious of choices when constructing a speech, continue to serve as the rubric by which most speeches are composed (Foster n.p.). David Wallace earned a doctorate in literature; therefore, his scholarly grasp of the composition of speeches and effectiveness of orations is clearly far more advanced than the skills of many. He chose this particular argument as a product of his advanced education. As he stated later in his speech, a liberal arts education teaches students how to think, so that they learn the critical nature of the types of thoughts that are worthy of attention.
…show more content…
Dr. Wallace chose to provide his listeners with a host of stories, which he carefully dissected, and relevant life experiences, in attempts to convince them that no individual can possibly possess the full knowledge necessary to judge others by sheer virtue of intellectual prowess (Foster n.p.). He was very skeptical of such displays, equating them with a true lack of demonstration of that which constitutes true thinking. The examples shared throughout the course of this randomized organizational pattern include situations in which drivers judge others for indiscretions such as cutting them off, or shoppers judge the mother who screamed at her child in the checkout line. The fact remains that, in the absence of full transparency, one cannot render valid judgments. Perhaps the driver or the woman had suffered great trials, immediately preceding their behaviors. The purpose for the pattern and randomized order centers, to bring listeners along on a journey through the varied thought process that individuals can, in fact, control as they navigate through life. The diction is clearly informal. Dr. Wallace opposed over-intellectualizing speeches despite his clear academic scholarship. He chooses to speak informally in order to relate to his audience. While Dr. Wallace could have certainly provided the commencement speech that was expected by all listeners, he chose to speak to his audience in attempts to persuade them to exercise control over their thoughts in allowing the truth to remain at the forefront as they suspend judgment. The effects of Dr. Wallace’s chosen diction is quite remarkable given the fact that this commencement speech is highly acclaimed and still discussed to this