Anna Quindlen Speech Analysis

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Anna Quindlen’s use of detail, along with imagery and language, paints a picture of her struggle with attaining perfection while in college. Her speech, often pensive and foreboding, warns of the dangers of pursuing perfection and the joy felt when one gives up that inane dream. Quindlen’s details planted from beginning to end of her speech are designed to get a clear message across to her audience: Don’t try to be perfect. This is elaborated upon when she says, “the thing that is. . .really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself”. She is making it known that in her own experience, letting go of a desperate need to be perfect and working on who you are is the best thing you can do for yourself.…show more content…
This “backpack filled with bricks on [her] back” represents her desire to be perfect in every aspect of the word. While reflecting on her youth, she makes it known that she “secretly longed to lay [her] burden down”. Quindlen, after so many years of falsifying herself, is tired of being what others expect her to be and allowing them to live vicariously through her perfection, and eventually stops. In doing so, she “[became] successful on [her] own terms”, and it ultimately lead to her own personal happiness. Quindlen’s imagery throughout her speech makes the listener able to picture what it is that she is talking about. When Quindlen brings up how perfection to her was like a “backpack filled with bricks on [her] back”, the listener can visualize how this need metaphorically weighed her down for years. After looking back on her struggle, Quindlen cautions her audience about how if they meet everyone’s expectations that one day when “fall into the center of [themselves]” they will find a “black hole where [their] core ought to be”. This powerful language allows the audience to mentally see how damaging following other people’s expectations of you can
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