In this section of the study guide, we will talk about the audience of George Saunders’ commencement address at Syracuse University. We will talk about the wider audience of the speech and about Saunders’ target audience.

Saunders’ speech was delivered during The College of Arts and Sciences’ graduation ceremony at Syracuse University, on 11th of May, 2013. Saunders’ speech lasted for about 11 minutes and was witnessed by the live audience sitting in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University.

The general audience of Saunders’ speech consists of students, professors, members of the University staff, as well as the families and friends of students. As the speech was filmed and distributed on social media, it also became available to the wider English-speaking audience. This is important, as Saunders’ target audience does not only consist of the students present at the ceremony but of young people everywhere.

First, Saunders targets elderly people who seek to teach the young generations some valuable lessons:

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking them to do one of their old-time ‘dances,’ so you can watch, while laughing, is ask: ‘Looking back, what do you regret?’ And they’ll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they’ll tell...

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