Kenyon Commencement Speech : David Foster Wallace Essay

727 Words Jan 24th, 2016 3 Pages
Kenyon Commencement Speech: David Foster Wallace On May 21, 2005, David Foster Wallace, a novelist and essayist, presented a commencement speech at the Kenyon College graduation ceremony. Unlike the typical commencement speech, his was fairly unorthodox. His was much more down to earth and realistic in things that the students should strive for after graduation. He believes that it is human nature to act on this sort-of default setting, where everyone acts and thinks on similar ideals, presenting them with a very long, humdrum of a life. Wallace pushes how everyone should use their education to not operate on their default settings in life by keeping an open-mind, think for themselves, and decide what is important for them to worship in their day-to-day lives. Wallace explains to the graduates the importance of accepting the idea that each of the graduate will not always be right. He argues that society has the tendency to believe that there is no other correct belief in the world except for their own. Wallace conveys his opinion of this by saying, “But religious dogmatists’ problem is exactly the same as the story’s unbeliever: blind certainty, a close- mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up”(Wallace 5). In making this comment, Wallace urges the graduates to not trap themselves in the jail of arrogance and accept the idea that they are indeed sometimes wrong. While so many people are stubborn about their…

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