AP Language and Composition
2 December 2012
Commencement Speech Analysis
Aaron Sorkin in his Commencement speech at Syracuse University shares his personal experiences during his life and connects it to the graduates of Syracuse University. Throughout his speech, Sorkin keeps a humorous yet straightforward tone.
Sorkin opens his speech by telling of “...a man and women…married for 40 years.” Using this to open his speech grabs the readers’ attention and makes they focus on his speech. Sorkin connects not only with the students but also with the parents by saying “… how proud your sons and daughters… dumber than you,” to reach out to his whole audience. By using personal anecdotes, Sorkin puts himself in the seats that they are in. He uses this to connect with the students he is speaking to.
In his speech he uses repetition to prove his points. Sorkin repeats “Today is May 13th…” to highlight the importance of graduating from college and “knowing where you’re going.” He states many milestones in a young adults life, “driver’s license,” and “move out of the dorms” and finishes each line with “my life will be like this” to make the reader think about what they thought life would be like after these milestone to also juxtaposes what they thought life would be like and what reality turned out to be. Towards the end of his speech, he repeats the phrase “you’re too good,” to demonstrate what an honor it is to graduate from Syracuse University. This makes the students feel more accomplished.
Sorkin uses colloquial diction throughout his speech. He uses a paradox saying the students are “well-educated dumb people” to suggest that they are not smart in the sense of life. This is meant to humor the students. Sorkin uses “screw-ups” to stress what is coming their way. When Sorkin juxtaposes “being unpredictable” with “being super dumb” he causes the students to think about how their lives are about to change in the real world. At the...
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