As we continue to look into the topic of Education in America in order to answer our essential question ‘Do we provide an equal education to all citizens?’, we turn our attention to the prolific post-post-modern writer David Foster Wallace and his commencement address to the graduating class of 2005 at Kenyon College.

In this commencement speech Wallace addresses and poises a few questions for his readers/audience:

  • How do we understand the ‘real world’, if we only live it through our own immediate experiences and point of view, where we are the ‘center of the universe’?
  • How much of the task of adapting our world view actually involves or requires ‘higher education’?
  • How do you construct meaning from experience?
  • What is the difference between ‘teaching you how to think’ and ‘learning what to think about’?
  • What is the role of higher education in your everyday life?

Consider these questions as you read the speech, and prepare for a collegiate discussion of the text in class tomorrow.

 

The audio of this commencement speech is available on YouTube if you would like to hear Wallace deliver it himself. Additionally, I have included a link to the full version of the speech, as a few paragraphs were missing in our textbook’s abbreviated version.

Click here to access the full version of Wallace’s speech.