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Faculty Sponsor

Emily Plec

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the commencement speech given by Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane University in 2009. I argue that through identifying with her audience and employing a rhetorical style consisting of a careful balance between humor and tragedy as an additional factor to her use of the commencement genre style presented in Margaret LaWare’s essay, "Redefining The 'Good Life': Life Lessons And Virtues In Commencement Speeches By Women,” DeGeneres is able to establish enough ethos to be seen as a highly credible source on the subject of life, and is able to resonate with her audience and make a point they perceive to be widely reasonable and sound.

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