Ellen DeGeneres Commencement Speech 2009
Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005. Everyone at Tulane University had an uncertainty if they would be able to regain back their future. It was an obstacle for the students to overcome, but they later on prevailed and attended their graduation. Being a comedian you wouldn’t expect someone to give such a wonderful commencement speech. The guest speaker for the Katrina class of 2009 at Tulane University was Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen gives a speech that not only acknowledges the class’s achievements but inspires them to be greater. I will analyze how Ellen uses Ethos and Pathos by allusion, imagery, repetition, and tone. It is an emotional and inspiring speech that I believe can convince almost anyone.
Ellen is successful and is encouraging to the students, so that they can become the same or greater. She repeats this a few times throughout this speech. The speech is about being the person you want to be, no matter what hardships that you may face in life. The speech is mainly directed towards her emotional reality.
Ellen uses her emotional phase through pathos. She connects to the students through the things that have happened in her life. Her first explanation was how she was originally from New Orleans. She explains how the hurricane didn’t only affect the students, but her as well. She explains this by letting the students know that she loves New Orleans. “I’ve spent my favorite years here.” Ellen says. She spent most of her young adulthood trying to figure out who she was. She uses heartbreak to show how her life has become what it is today. She shares the story of her girlfriend dying in a car accident. At that point, she started writing as “a one way phone call to God”. She became inspired to start stand-up. She explains to the students this story to show them what positivity came out of distress. Ellen’s last emotional appeal is through encouragement. She starts explaining the jobs she has had from waiting tables to painting houses. Ellen’s life has not been an easy one, but she worked hard for what she has now. As she explains her story of having no money, she tells them that she “had no idea what she wanted in life”. Ellen said, “I had no heat or air and she slept on a...