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Steve Jobs Commencement Speech: Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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The speaker I chose to critique was the great Steve Jobs. I feel like Stanford chose him to speak because he was revolutionizing the tech world. The audience of this speech is all people who want to have a career in a field that they actually like. The audience would be excited to have Steve Jobs speak at their graduation because he has the ultimate rags-to-riches story. People want to be like him because he had the confidence to stand up for himself and see that what he was doing in college wasn’t interesting to him. So he dropped out 6 months into college to be a drop-in for 18 months to classes that actually intrigued him.

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Steve Jobs's main objective was to inspire kids to “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Stay hungry in life never be satisfied by what you have achieved in the past because you’ll eventually fall behind. To quote Herbert Spencer: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” So never stop learning and always look out for the next big thing. The day you get satisfied with your life, your life will come to a standstill and the world will continue to move without you. Stay Foolish smart people know you can’t touch the stars but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. When you don’t know the limit then you don’t have a limit. “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” by Albert Einstein. So gain Knowledge and use that knowledge to challenge the status quo.

Steve Jobs moves logically from point to point with 3 life stories from the heart. In his speech, Jobs demonstrates the virtuous use of rhetorical appeals in the development and presentation of one of the most persuasive commencement speeches in order to draw the student’s attention to the significant questions which can contribute to changing a person’s life. The uniqueness of Jobs’ approach is in the use of the reverse variant of the ethos as the rhetorical appeal because Jobs has no credibility to discuss the importance of university education, but he has the credibility to discuss the points necessary for professional success because of stating his position as the co-founder of Apple, Inc., NeXT and Pixar. The credibility of Jobs’ considerations depends on the presentation of his own personal and life background and experiences to support his ideas. The use of pathos in the speech is observed when the author concludes with the results of his experience: “If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do” (Jobs). Nevertheless, Jobs’ goal is to persuade the graduates to act and find the things that they love to do, and the focus on logos is observed in the stories’ concluding sentences when Jobs provides the logical argument: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work” (Jobs). These concluding remarks are based on the logical rethinking of the evidence and facts presented as examples from the author’s experience.

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Steve Jobs Commencement Speech: Rhetorical Analysis Essay. (2023, August 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Steve Jobs Commencement Speech: Rhetorical Analysis Essay.” Edubirdie, 29 Aug. 2023,
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Steve Jobs Commencement Speech: Rhetorical Analysis Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Aug 29 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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