“This is Water” [Osmond]

Genres allow people to understand or give us a set of expectations of what we are about to read or listen to. If one is about to analyze a research paper, they can expect to find the essay filled with facts and an unbiased result of their findings. With the graduation speech genre, there are different approaches, such as using humor or being serious. On the contrary, the general stereotypical message presented in a graduation speech is similar throughout. The graduation speech genre is supposed to prepare college graduations with the wisdom of what to expect in adulthood by using a combination of personal anecdotes and uplifting philosophies.

Kerry Dirk, an author of a commonly cited essay, “Navigating Genres,” explains that “all genres matter because they shape our everyday lives,” (Dirk 249). Genres allow a reader to give a certain response to what they are reading. “This is Water,” by David Wallace, the author addresses what the liberal arts education is supposed to give you the choice of what to think about, not the cliche “teaching you how to think.” Wallice offers a new perspective on how to approach frustrating situations that young graduates will likely face in their adult life. For instance, if someone on the road cuts you off he might be, “a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him,” (Wallace 87). At the same time, this might also not be true, but Wallice’s philosophy is you cannot expect yourself to be the center of the universe. By allowing yourself to think in an alternative perspective, rather than one’s “default setting,”(Wallice 47)” you can be able to differentiate what does have meaning and what does not have meaning.

The graduation genre allows a speaker to teach students what the “real world” is like and can help shape a person’s decisions for the rest of their life. Wallice’s philosophy teaches graduates to be able to choose what to think and what not to believe. Within the graduation speech genre, graduates expect to hear a speech that will prepare them for life.  


One thought on ““This is Water” [Osmond]

  1. The author’s name is “Wallace”, not “Wallice”. You talk about the concept of genre in a general sense; try to engage with what Dirk says about genres in “Navigating Genres”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *