This is Water [Nava]

In order to be an effective writer it is important to establish a specific genre by knowing what action you are attempting to accomplish, who the audience is, and the location. In Navigating Genres, Dirk explains how much more a genre is than just something to fit a specific category, a genre can be anything that responds appropriately to an authors situation. In This is Water by David Foster Wallace the genre is a graduate speech and Dirk’s ideas of forming a distinct genre are very prevalent as Wallace does a great job of making sure to obtain all the factors of a successful commencement speech while nailing the genre. The writer succeeds in inspiring the graduates, filling them with wisdom, and beginning the transition to adulthood. Many graduation speeches tend to be repetitive and and unoriginal however, This is Water engages and captivates the audience.

Wallace begins by telling his audience that he is not the wise, older fish explaining what water is to the younger fish, with this, he builds a connection with the audience and they are able to relate to him and feel at ease. He emphasizes the value of liberal arts education and how it can “teach you how to think” meaning it makes one learn to become aware of how we choose to think and how a different mindset can bring freedom and positivity in one’s life. He then inspires his audience by challenging them to think about their own lives in order to create an awareness of how they must change their manner of thinking. His cruel language catches the attention of the audience as they have most likely found themselves thinking in the negative manner in which the strangers he mentions do. The wisdom he provides is that mindset is truly crucial in maintaining a sane and happy life and letting the audience know the real type of freedom involves being attentive and aware. Wallace includes all the factors for a graduation speech making it perfect for its genre.

One thought on “This is Water [Nava]

  1. Your first sentence is a good summary of Dirk’s “Navigating Genres” (as good as you can get in just one sentence), but then you move on to Wallace’s speech without really engaging with Dirk’s understanding of genre. Try to integrate Dirk’s frame of reference more thoroughly into your analysis.

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