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Analysis of Rhetoric Appeals Used by Steve Jobs in His Commencement Speech

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Steve Jobs is a huge name in today’s society. Steve Jobs is mainly known as the original co-founder of Apple Inc., one of the biggest companies, if not the biggest company to exist to this day. Jobs is a very successful and respected man, therefore that is why his speech at Stanford University during Commencement Day grabbed the public’s eyes and really made the students of Stanford University want to take action and listen in.

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The goal of Steve Jobs’ speech was to inspire Stanford University students to find their passions through activities. Jobs successfully gets his point across through to everyone listening into his speech because of the detail that was put into the structure of the speech that Jobs delivers. In Jobs’ speech, rhetoric appeals are shown by using persuasion in order to draw the students’ attention to the significant questions which can contribute to life changing experiences.

The stories that were told during Jobs Commencement Speech have included pathos, the personal experience shared can relate to ethos, and the endings of the stories use logos. Ethos is clearly being used during the speech when Jobs states, “I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation”. The purpose of the 3 stories Jobs included into his speech are used to piece together his main argument about the stress of the importance of finding things that you feel passionate about and enjoy participating in. This point is developed by references to pathos in the first sentences while telling his stories. In the first story, jobs mentions child adoption, happiness, and makes the statement “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”. This is showing pathos because the author’s own feelings and emotions are being described and shown here. Jobs reveals his own personal life, background, and experiences to support his ideas. The pathos used in the speech is shown when the author concludes that “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 also states that “About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer” which clearly shows both ethos and pathos.

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In summary, Jobs’ main goal of his speech is to persuade graduates listening to find the things that they love to do, and the focus on them. Jobs supports his point by stating “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). This quote can be concluded from Jobs person experience that he is sharing with the audience in order to inspire them and push them.

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Analysis of Rhetoric Appeals Used by Steve Jobs in His Commencement Speech. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
“Analysis of Rhetoric Appeals Used by Steve Jobs in His Commencement Speech.” GradesFixer, 10 Dec. 2020,
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