Anecdote In This Is Water

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This Is Water is a book based on David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech that was delivered in late May of that year. This Is Water aims to provide a description of life beyond college, but the life it describes is not one full of life’s triumphs; the life that This Is Water describes is the everyday life of the average graduate – long, grueling days filled with work and frustration. In his commencement speech, David Foster Wallace makes use of anecdotes, careful syntax use per its context, and many calls to action in order to create a somber tone to explain “the daily grind” of real life and how to rid ourselves of it to a collection of graduating seniors. Wallace begins his speech with an anecdote, which in its entirety …show more content…

The second anecdote has very curious syntax: the entire anecdote is almost entirely a single sentence (Wallace, 4). The anecdote begins, “let’s say it’s an average day”, but then quickly escalates because “you remember there’s no food at home – you haven’t had time to shop this week, because of your challenging job – and so now after work you have to get in your care and drive to the supermarket. It’s the end of the workday, and the traffic’s very bad, so getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it’s the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping…” (Wallace, 4). With every sentence, there is an increase in length – with every sentence, the reader reads more and more in a single gulp. This builds a lot of tension and a lot of stress in the reader to complement what is being read, the stressful day that never ends. Wallace is able to reinforce the everyday dilemma that is faced by working adults by adjusting his syntax to read as long, drawn-out sentences. In contrast, Wallace switches his content but retains his long-style syntax when referring to a more palatable interpretation of the world. For example, Wallace states that “[i]t’s not impossible that some of these people in SUVs have been in horrible auto accidents in the past and now find driving so

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