Analysis Of Ellen DeGeneres’Commencement Speech

Ellen DeGeneres was chosen to do the Commencement speech in 2009 at Tulane University. The reason she was chosen for this was because she was already well known at the time of this speech and, when you are chosen to do a Commencement speech, it's an opportunity to share your experience, values, and advice. This was a platform for her to say amazing and inspirational things.

Ellen DeGeneres didn't really know herself growing up and had a hard time finding out who she was because of her sexuality. She states “I really thought I knew who I was but I had no idea. Like for example, when I was your age, I was dating men.” Ellen tells her story. She’s a gay woman; she didn’t think anyone would accept her because of her sexuality; she talks about how she tried to please everyone. Her insecurity told her that no one would like her or laugh at her jokes because she was the way she was.

In her speech, she next recounts how after she came out, she lost her career; her biggest fear had become her reality. This makes the speech more personal. She was making her speech relatable to catch the listeners’ ears. She first opened up her speech with humor so she could get to the more sentimental things like the story about her girlfriend passing away, that she had no one to go to, she had no money and was living on a mattress in a basement infested with fleas. This made everyone, from the oldest to the youngest person in the room, think about how that made her feel. Almost anyone can relate to losing someone to whom they’re really close.

Ellen points out the things wrong with society in a sarcastic and funny way when she uses dry humor like “You’ve already survived the hurricane.” Her delivery and style makes the graduates feel less intimidated. She tells them how to use the material they've learned to go be something great and to get noticed for the right things. She makes them feel accomplished because they are graduating and makes them feel wanted and accepted, unlike how she felt when she was younger. She felt abandoned because she was different. Later on in life, she got a call. That one call changed her life around and now she is known as THE Ellen DeGeneres, one of the quirkiest, most famous, and most successful comedians ever.

In conclusion, Ellen’s main point was to let people know that they can be themselves. People should never let people bring them down according to what they believe in. Ellen stated how she was so honored to even be compared to alumni at Tulane because she didn't go to college and she really didn't know herself after graduating high school. The hallmark of a great commencement day speaker is one who both relates to the audience and entertains them, and one who inspires them with a positive and purposeful life message. Ellen Degeneres is a great example: her speech embodies all these qualities.   

16 December 2021
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