Rhetorical Analysis of Ellen DeGeneres's Commencement Speech Essay example

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Ellen’s Commencement Speech Rhetorical Analysis Graduation caps fly into the air, cheers erupt, and diplomas are received. This is a typical graduation day. Not only did these ceremonial events take place for Tulane University's class of 2009, but Ellen DeGeneres was there to congratulate them as well! This class was dubbed the "Katrina Class" for being survivors of the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina was named one of the deadliest Hurricanes, causing more than 1,836 deaths. Tulane University is located in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the most significant amount of deaths took place and 80 percent of the city was destroyed. These graduates have survived a lot , and Ellen wants to congratulate them on their …show more content…
The most memorable metaphor from Ellen’s speech is “life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, you’ll have more beads than you know what to do with.” This resonates with the graduates, because coming from New Orleans, they are very familiar with Mardi Gras festivities. Ellen uses this metaphor because it is comical and relatable to the students. The speech with this metaphorical advice, in hopes that the graduates will remember it. That is the goal of any commencement speech after all.
The uses of allusions to pop culture as well as current events is particularly apparent in Ellen’s address as well. First, she alludes to the Pussycat Doll’s song to explain how her personal definition of success has changed over the years. She contrasts definitions of success ranging from holding down tequila shots to the better definition of living life as a well rounded and kind person. She reassures the audience that it is okay if plans and definitions change. The allusions to the Pussycat Dolls and tequila grabs the audience’s attention so they are guaranteed to be listening when Ellen gives meaningful advice to them. She also alludes to the country’s current socioeconomic situation when making the hyperbole “the economy is booming, the job market is wide open, the planet is just