This Is Water

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Wallace/ This Is Water In his unconventional commencement speech “This Is Water” (2005), David Foster Wallace, focused on a concept of learning to be aware of how and what we choose to think. This concept is also believed by Wallace to be the real value of a liberal arts education. Wallace disrobed his inventive speech and sets forth the focus of his main idea with a parable about two young fish, incapable of realizing the most obvious and the important realities which surrounds them, essential for their very being; water. Wallace argues that being capable to consciously prioritize one’s attention and perception; one may be able to resist the natural self-centeredness setting, allowing for one to lead a more intelligent life. Wallace addressed his conception to the 2005 graduates of Kenyan College along with the presence of parents, staff and faculty members. Wallace carried his speech through a sequence of rhetorical devices such as, logos/parallelism/pathos, first/second person, and ethos to effectively appeal to the audience. First, Wallace strategically appealed to his audience’s logical and reasonable abilities, by verbal illustrations of stories that require individuals to make choices during relatable situations. Wallace’s parable about the two fish resulted with the audience rationally concluding the characters lack of logical reasoning. The fish in Wallace’s fish story asks, “What the hell is water?” The story supports Wallace’s argument “blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up” (Wallace) In addition, Wallace also incorporated the use of parallelism into his appeal to logos resulting in a “if-then” that logically upholds his argument, “If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is . . . then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t
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