A Rhetorical Analysis Of This Is Water By David Foster Wallace

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As David Foster Wallace’s speech ‘This is Water” states, he recognizes that we are exceptionally lucky to live in a society that prizes tolerance and diversity of belief. Where do these beliefs come from? These beliefs are the product of what he calls our ‘default setting’. We are hard-wired to be deeply and literally self-centered and arrogant. We operate with blind certainty, “a close mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.” He also admits that a huge percentage of what he believes is correct is wrong. David Foster Wallace reminds the graduates that there is real value in the, “awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time.” He felt conflicted and realized that giving the speech is problematic for him because of the conflicting realities of what a commencement address is supposed to converse, what the graduates want to hear, and what message he really wanted to convey. To be a ‘usage fanatic’, one with an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm for the customary way of doing something, is not what David Foster…show more content…
The older fish says to the two young fish, “Morning boys. How’s the water?” As they swim away, one young fish says to the other, “What the hell is water?” Wallace explains that humans share a commonality with the young fish in that they go about their day-to-day lives completely unaware of the obvious. He believes that, because people are so self-focused, they often take the most significant things in life for granted. As he concludes his speech, Wallace revisits the fish story, and says the most significant quality we should take with us in to the adult world is “simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: ‘This is water, this is

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