Oprah Winfrey's Commencement Speech

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In Oprah Winfrey’s Harvard Commencement Speech, like most graduation speeches aims to inspire the new graduates to enter the world with confidence and optimism. She encourages the graduates to force themselves to think the same way about failure as she does, or not see a lack of success as failure. For many, it will be the first time experiencing the real world, so she encourages all in the audience to not only redefine failure and hardship but also use their acquired knowledge for the benefit of all people. Oprah uses humor, optimism and inspiration, and life stories to help her audience understand how to define and overcome their own failures. Causing laughter twice within the first two minutes sets up a lax tone for the rest of her speech. Oprah is a well-known and respected businesswoman and celebrity, and the speech was given at one of the most prestigious colleges in the…show more content…
In her call to action, Oprah talks about a little boy who became a quadruple amputee but overcame this struggle and joined his school lacrosse team. Upon hearing about the victims of the Boston Marathon, he created a fundraiser “to raise $1 million for other amputees”. She also mentions a 9-year-old girl who collected change “to help other people in need.” By including these similar anecdotes in her speech it shows that anyone can make a difference, even those without a lot of power or education behind them. This inspired those with a Harvard education to realize their potential and never settle until they have made a positive influence on another’s life. By ending her speech mentioning these two devoted children, she inspires all to find the innocence and compassion of a little kid and pour their passion for whatever they majored in. Using anecdotes, Oprah calls the Harvard class of 2013 to go out into the world and find a way to help people using their
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