Barack Obama’s commencement speech is a very well written speech, which centers around topics like pride and strength of will. Obama’s main point is to show empathy with the students, teachers and parents to honor them. I have chosen to analyze lines 4-24.
Already in the first part of the speech he expresses himself using a very empathetic tone:
“Along with the usual challenges of growing up, all of you had to deal with the added pressures of social media, reports of school shootings, and the specter of climate change.” (ll. 7-9)
Comments like these, makes Obama seem more light-hearted and optimistic, which rubs off on the viewers. He is not taking himself too seriously, and he mostly wants to lift the spirits of the audience. He continues that light-hearted and humorous tone, when he uses self-deprecating humor:
“I know no having to sit there and listen to a commencement speaker isn’t all that bad. Mine usually go on way too long. Also, not that many people look great in those caps, especially if you have big ears like me.” (ll. 19-22)