David Foster Wallace's speech,This is water, is about the way of viewing life which is the only speech made in his entire lives is appealing and eventful. The subject of his speech gives his peers as well as the younger generation inspiration of how to think from different aspects and how to get away from the rigid thinking which imprisons themselves in death. The speech enables the audience to pay more attention to the beautiful things around them in the world and focus on the positive side of life. During the speech, he brings freedom and positive energy in graduating students spiritual world. David's sophisticated commencement speech allows the audience to understand his mindfulness deeply. This is an analysis paper of This is water and seeks to explore Davids perspective on life.
In the third paragraph, he says, If you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. Firstly, he draws audiences attention to a meaningful story about two young fish and an old fish, which stimulates peoples interests with enthusiasm. Both young fish exclaimed, What the hell is the water? (David) The question itself raises the interest level of people, and as a result, they will be eager to let them know what water is. At the same time, viewing from the perspective of fish, people will have doubt on themselves. Is there something we do not notice in our daily life? or What is the hardest for us to see as the same as fish? As the speaker points out that blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn't even know he's locked up(David). People will fully understand the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities (David); and they will realize that they are not the center of the world. However, he fails to use an abstract academic theory with a complex argument to make the explanation as simple as possibledirectly asserts that The most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.
After that, he breaks the age barrier between himself and audiences by especially emphasizing that he is not the old fish. To make his argument convincing, he establishes equal relations with audiences, not pretending to be a teacher or a professor. He understands students mentality, and mentions, you tend to feel a bit insulted by the claim that you needed anybody to teach you how to think, since the fact that you even got admitted to a college this good seems like proof that you already know how to think. (David), which corresponds to the aforementioned sentence. Thus, students can put themselves on relaxed positions to listen to his speech. By shortening the distance between himself and audiences, he makes audiences trust him naturally. After that, he underscores again, Im not getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues (David).During his process of speech, David stands on the graduating studentsview of experiencing their feelings and their response. To catch students attention and shorten the gap between students, he hints that he already takes listeners concerns into account and engages in easing their natural anxieties, allowing audiences to follow his ideas in the following instead of having an aversion to him.
In addition, You can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe shes not usually like this. Maybe shes been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, and red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness.(David).The detailed descriptions of the situations that people view from negative perspectives enable the audience to empathize with him. The words dead-eyed, screamed build up a pessimistic and irritable atmosphere and convey depression in peoples spiritual world. When he tells this, someone maybe feels that he is just like a fringe who holds extreme opinions.
Apparently, David used to be in a self-centered mode, and he used to complain about the long checkout line and the fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady. He is a patient of depression who has extreme sensitivity and over-alert to the surrounding environment. His inner sense of insecurity consciously causes over prevention of the surrounding environment. Thus, his cynical attitudes towards the life can be explained. He casts off the operation without his default settings. However after saying, maybe shes not usually like this, his tone is converted instantly. To avoid someone disputing his argument, Wallace states that none of this is likely, but its also not impossible. Logically, he admits that it seems impossible about the story he mentioned before. However, this hypothetical situation which keeps accessible to students can truly happen in some cases. Thus, audiences emotions are still mingled closely with the speaker. It is unlikely for students to cast doubts on him. In other words, David argues that people should take compassion on others by making use of their intellectual capabilities. David views this world through a cynical perspective, just like someones thinking when he encounters a stranger. Suddenly, audiences immerse themselves in that situation which he describes involuntarily. Thus, Wallaces points seem more pertinent to peoples daily life. Besides, he consecutively uses the words may be three times. This repetition builds a rhythm which enlarges his thoughts and arouses emotion, allowing people to yearn for changing their mindsets when they are in crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell-type situation (David). People would like try to change their minds in different situations by varying their default thoughts.
But finally, he chooses to commit suicide tragically, suffering from the torture of death bit by bit and trying to bid farewell to the world which he spares no effort to love. The way he chooses to die seems to warn those people who are cynical but still want to maintain a remainder of link with the world; he uses his death to alert lives. In brief, David is more interested in making everyone enlightened about the beauty of living and the feasible dilemma, enlightens people to be responsive for their lives, enables them to find happiness in their common lives, and persuades them to have a positive attitude towards their lives.
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