Rhetorical Analysis Stev Jobs Commencemnent Speech

Topics: Graduation, Rhetoric, Commencement speech Pages: 9 (2703 words) Published: October 14, 2014
Throughout this speech, Steve Jobs successfully convinces the multicultural graduate population at the Stanford University Commencement to be preeminent in life and to pursue their passions by relaying three personal stories in a symmetrical structure that enables pathos to be clearly developed. In most of today’s arguments, facts are given to support a claim that is being made by someone; however, in Steve Jobs’ speech, he presents only his personal opinion and a little a bit of history as evidence. Even though this is all he has to offer to his audience, it creates rhetorical backing in his ethos. Through his stories, he creates a persona for himself. He makes himself seem like a person who carried on even in his darkest of times and also someone who had overcome the many obstacles he faced and when things did not look so dandy. While trying to teach the audience that failure can sometimes be right, these are important pieces of the persona that he will establish throughout his speech. He is known as a successful man and role model to many people in the world. While he develops this persona, it allows him to make a connection with his audience on a level way beyond what he expects. Jobs breaks it down into stories, but what he really wants the audience to see is that his life went okay, and then things took a wrong turn, and then everything began to brighten up and get a lot better. Things were better than he ever would have imagined. Throughout his speech, the ups and downs are repeated patterns that he conveys in his stories and also in his life.

“I’ve never graduated from college. Truth be told; this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation,” is what Steve Jobs confesses immediately after he begins his speech to the graduating class of Stanford University. You would think that for a college graduation commencement, you would want someone who could relate educationally to the audience to send the graduates off, but on this day Steve Jobs was not that person. He did not fit the norm of being a college graduate. After he makes a statement on how he never actually graduated from college, he strongly compliments his audience, telling them how honored he is to be able to give this speech to "one of the finest universities in the world." He reels the audience in by telling them that he never graduated college which gives the graduates a sense of accomplishment. Jobs’ however, only completed six months of school at Reed’s College. Before this time, he was very unsure if furthering his college career would better his future in any way. But coincidentally, he decided to stick around and take classes that he thought were interesting for another eighteen months. Throughout his speech, he shares his difference experiences with the audience, and they all seem to share a very common theme. This theme being; the pursuit of happiness. Jobs effectively connects with the audience by saying this and using pathos. He communicates this message by using cause and effect analysis, contrast, and personal anecdotes.

In his first short story, Steve Jobs tells the audience “Again, you cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” In this story, Jobs does a magnificent job when using his rhetorical methods. He uses anaphora, pathos, and apostrophe by repeating the phrase “connecting the dots” throughout his story. He elicits pathos from the audience when he discusses his childhood and being adopted. This technique he uses gives the story a great meaning, and it also allows the audience to defer meaningful application. Even though his biological parents could not provide for him and raise him the way they wanted to on their own, they did however find a well-educated family that could provide for him, so that he would be an educated young man. He tells them how seventeen years later he makes the decision to go to college, then humorously says how he felt that he wasted all of his...

Cited: Jobs, Steve. "Commencement Address at Stanford University." Graduation. Stanford University Auditorium, Palo Alto. 12 June 2005. Speech.
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