Analysis of Commencement Speech at Mount Holyoke College

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Analysis of Commencement Speech at Mount Holyoke College By Anna Quindlen Identify + summarize main ideas- Perfection is the main topic of discussion in the commencement speech. Anna Quindlen urged her audience to not worry about being perfect. Trying to be perfect all the time is painful. It is something that can only be achieved by imitation. Nothing good comes from imitation; it is nothing like being yourself. Quindlen emphasized the importance of living up to personal expectations and not conforming to society. No traditional notion should influence someone’s choices in life. Everyone should have a clean slate to be made into whatever the individual wants it to be. Quindlen attempts to illustrate the importance that a stress free life will make you happier than anything else. Quindlen makes remarks to the pressure we put ourselves under to be, and stay, perfect in paragraph 4, “So what I want to say to you today is this: if this sounds, in any way, familiar to you, if you have been trying to be perfect in one way or another, too, then make today, when for a moment there are no more grades to be gotten, classmates to be met, terrain to be scouted, positioning to be arranged--make today the day to put down the backpack.” Identify + give examples of rhetorical devices, style elements, include soaps tone- Anna Quindlen’s speech is effective in the sense of inspiration and entertainment. She does a great job of establishing ethos by telling stories of her past and other people’s stories known. Quindlen’s speech also consists of wonderful similes, antithesis, and the anecdotes that help illustrate her point. One simile that stuck out the most was “Eventually being perfect day after day, year after year, became like always carrying a backpack filled with bricks on my back.” The reason this sticks out so much is that it lets us picture the burden

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