“This is water” is a speech by David Foster Wallace. The speech was given at Kenyon College the 21st of May 2005.
The topic of the speech is how we don’t stop and ask ourselves the obvious questions, which he describes pretty god with the metaphor about the fish asking what water actually is.
The message in the text is pretty straight forward. The message is that we more often than not tend to get caught up in our own inner monologue, instead of paying attention to what is going on right in front of our very own noses.
He uses the old and cliché metaphor “the mind is an excellent servant but a terrible master” To strengthen his argument about how we should be in control of our own thoughts rather than just letting the mind go nuts.
Another theme is, that he also implies that people should think twice and more positively before dropping a conclusion.
An example of this could be when he talks about the trip to the supermarket, where he says “because my default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really about me, about MY hungriness, about MY fatigue, about MY desire to just get home.... look how deeply unfair this is”
You could argue that the message is more or less targeted towards every single person on the planet, since everybody should be more positive and in control of “their default setting” Of course there is a very obvious “main” audience, which are high school students.
This is the Main audience because this very speech was given to graduating high school students. Another reason why they are the main audience, is because, David Foster is teaching the next generation about how they should be more positive and in control of their thoughts then the previous generation.