Billy Commencement Speech: The Rhetorical Analysis Of Billy Joel

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Billy Joel is a musician and he is giving the commencement speech at Berklee College of Music in 1993. Berklee College of Music is the largest contemporary music college in the world. Billy Joel is an amazing singer and songwriter so even though he did not attend this college, it is still an honor to be able to speak there. His commencement speech has plenty of rhetorical literary devices such as ethos, logos, pathos, parallelism, antithesis, as well allusions. There are other literary devices such as metaphors, rhetorical questions, and similes. Ethos means that the speaker is establishing their credibility to the audience. An example of ethos in his speech is “I have been asked many times, "Why do musicians give so much time to charitable …show more content…

An example of parallelism in Billy Joel 's Commencement speech can be seen here “Beethoven heard it. John Lennon heard it. Milli Vanilli heard it. Bob Marley heard it. Janis Joplin heard it. Tchaikovsky heard it. Charlie Parker heard it, Verdi, Debussy.” This is parallelism because he is listing people who have all heard the same question “So when are you going to get a real job?” The definition of parallelism is having the similar structure repeated in writing. In the example, the pattern is fill in the blank (with a name) heard it. Name heard it. And it is repeated many times to prove the point that it is a common question for all different types of musicians. In Joel’s speech, he uses antithesis to show contrasting views and ideas. “Perhaps it is mainly because musicians want to be the loud voice so many quiet hearts.” He is contrasting the loud voice with quiet hearts to emphasize his point about musicians. Another example of antithesis is “But people who don 't have this ability still need to find a way to give a voice to what they 're thinking and feeling, to find something that connects them with others.” He is making a contrast between musicians that can express their feelings through music and the non musicians who can not but still have the need to find something that they can relate to. The third literary device that was mentioned previously was allusion and this is used throughout the speech as well. “ No one eludes Uncle Sam 's tax man anymore.” Uncle Sam’s tax man is an allusion to America’s taxing laws and companies that take care of taxes. By using the phrase “Uncle Sam’s tax man”, he is alluding to the American taxing

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