Summary Of David Foster Wallace's Kenyon Commencement Address

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In David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon Commencement Address, he tells the graduate students that in order to fully receive an education, they first must learn to think. Through his use of dry humor, Wallace gives the college graduates a realistic view on life after college, and how it will be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining and lead to boredom and frustration. However, he provides them with tools to combat these negative emotions in hopes to lessen the stress they will encounter in their daily lives. Wallace begins with a story of three fish, where the elder fish asks the two younger ones, “How’s the water?” and the two younger fish respond by asking what water is. The point of this story was the “most important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.” This story leads into his main point of the speech, which is that in life you must choose how to think and what to think about. …show more content…

The one man who doesn’t believe in God tells the story of being lost in a blizzard and he prayed to God for the knowledge of the way out. Soon after, he encounters Eskimos who happened to be wandering by and led him back to his campsite. The man who did believe in God said that that was God’s way of answering his prayers, but the atheist said it was just a coincidence. Wallace then elaborates by saying “ the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people.” People’s different beliefs shape the way they think about a situation. These beliefs can lead people to become arrogant and close-minded to other opportunities and

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