David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” 2005 Kenyon College Commencement Address

Wallace is totally the Buddha in this speech, preaching attentional choice, vigilance in looking, and imaginative awareness. It’s a shame he hit bottom in 2008 and, in the grip of a severe depression (a recurrent scourge that plagued his life), committed suicide. The world, it would seem (echoing Wordsworth), was too much with him.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” 2005 Kenyon College Commencement Address

  1. Thanks for bringing this speech to my attention. A rather beautiful reminder of the importance of thinking beyond oneself.

  2. Wow. I heard this speach for the first time just the other day. I had no idea he committed suicide. Such a shame, really. It doesn’t change the message he conveyed, it honestly only enhances it from my perspective. He personifies the idea that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that “this is water”, and how difficult it can be to remember it when life hits its lows.

    Thanks for the info!

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