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Critical Evaluation of the Commencement Speech

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Foster (1) commences his speech with an allegory of two young fishes swimming along the waters. When they are asked about the nature of the water they seem ignorant and unaware. They rhetorically ask; “What the hell is water?” In my opinion, the figure of speech which is taken, allegory, means that mankind is troubled with matters surrounding them but in their oblivion state. Thus, with this speech, he effectively expounds on the manner in which people are confined in their own “natural default-setting” which is marred with self-centeredness as well as immense levels of blindness. Notwithstanding, he argues that mankind should be alert with their immediate surroundings and exercise imminent level of consciousness in the course of dealing with others. Hence, in this manner they are protected from self-mental slavery.

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Consequently, the allegory has been used to depict the extent to which people are expected to think and make significant decisions concerning their lives. It is trying to stipulate that “the most obvious, ubiquitous and significant realities are often the ones that are the challenging to perceive and talk” (Foster 653). In addition to this, the allegory has been effectively used as a bridge between the introduction and the main arguments of the speech as a whole. This manner of introducing a lecture enhances the mood as well as breaks the monotony of formal conversations. Notably, he deploys the use of a humorous voice in order to simplify the immediate mood of the speech. He retorts: “If at this moment, you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be” (Foster 654).

He conducts his arguments successully through the use of transitional real-life events. He illustrates personal  events of an average American worker. He asserts that his immediate experiences enhanced the belief that he was the; “absolute center of the universe, the realest most vivid and important person in existence” (Foster 654). Furthermore, he asserts that people who depict themselves as being self-centered are portrayed as “well-adjusted” individuals. This is showcased in line with the numerous arguments put forth in one’s mind instead of paying close attention and making relevant decisions about one’s life. He also maintains that people need to select necessary attention-paths in order to construct definite meanings of life as a significant model of adulthood.

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Another significant story-telling feature of the speech is depicted when Foster (653) uses the life of an average American adult in order to show elements of immense boredom, routine as well as potential frustrations. The key message of the analogy is the distinctive definition of freedom. It is attributed to such facets as immense levels of attention, awareness, discipline, effort as well as being placed at a fair position upon which a person can assist others and hence sacrifice for their living (Foster 654).

I tend to agree with the author on the issue of uniformity of thinking which cuts across all human races. It is fair to argue that the self-centeredness aspect of thinking comes automatically and easily in that matter. Mankind is never allowed to choose on a different path other than on their natural-default settings. In the course of the aforementioned model of thinking people tend to ascertain with their immediate needs as unconscious beliefs. This aspect, in turn, determines the manner in whiich the world should operate.

Another significant argument put forth by the author revolves around worship. It is true that each and every mankind worships one matter or the other. However, whenever they choose to either worship material or supernatural matter it comes with a distinct cost. For instance, whenever one chooses to worship money it means that they will never have enough of it. This is especially true with the rich individual members of the society who participate in different activities irrespective of their morality.

He concludes that there should be the essence of our education“ How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out”(Foster 655).

The author uses different methodologies in order to connect practical experiences with the idea of being conscious. For instance, he consumed very common experiences for all the readers to develop some resonances with them, besides he managed to compare the differences between living unconscious and being alert.

To sum up, it is fair to stipulate that the author has deployed different figures of speech in order to depict distinct mood and emphasis on the subject matter under discussion. He uses such figures of speech as allegories, informal and humorous voice in order to break the monotony of the commencement speech. Thus, Foster used a good strategy to show his opinion to readers, and persuade people to use step-by-step approach. An interesting introduction acquires readers’ attention and his understanding for use of expression is a plus for his speech.

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