Free «Rhetoric Project: Mario Vargas Llosa's Nobel Banquet Speech» Essay Sample

The Nobel Prize stands as a beacon of excellence, a symbol of the pinnacle of human achievement in the sciences, literature, and the promotion of peace. It is not merely an award but a global affirmation of the laureates’ enduring contributions to humanity. For those who receive this prestigious honor, the accolade marks a defining moment, etching their names into the annals of history. The prize often culminates in a Nobel Prize speech, where laureates share their journeys, inspirations, and visions for the future, resonating with audiences worldwide and inspiring generations to come.

In the realm of literature, the Nobel Prize recognizes not only authors but also the intricate art of translation, which bridges cultures and brings literary masterpieces to a broader audience. Winning the best translated book category is a testament to the translator’s skill in preserving the nuance and beauty of the original work. This recognition underscores the importance of translation in enriching the global literary landscape, allowing readers everywhere to partake in the universal human experience conveyed through the written word. For the laureates, the Nobel Prize is a transformative milestone, immortalizing their dedication and passion for their craft.

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This essay will analyze the peculiarities, structure and the usage of rhetoric devices in the speech pronounced by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. His harangue proves to be very impressive and persuasive due to a combination of folklore motives, simple yet powerful rhetoric devices and clear logical structure.

History of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Prize Speech

Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Prize speech in 2010, titled “In Praise of Reading and Fiction,” is a reflection of his lifelong passion for literature. Delivered on December 7, 2010, at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, the speech was an eloquent homage to the power of reading and storytelling.

The history of his speech is intertwined with his personal narrative, as he shared his journey from a young boy who found solace and adventure in best translated book to a celebrated author who has contributed significantly to the literary world. He spoke about how reading transformed his life, allowing him to transcend the limitations of his reality and explore vast, imaginative worlds. Llosa also touched upon the influence of his family and mentors, who encouraged his literary pursuits.

The main purpose of this speech is to thank the committee as well as give some very short description of the main idea of the laureate’s work. These harangues are often light-hearted and do not contain any serious facts or conclusions. Vargas Llosa’s speech perfectly fits into this category. He followed the traditions of such harangues and made it short, precise, fascinating and to some extent humorous. He felt that audience very well and understood that it was made of celebrities, royals and other respected people, so his speech should have corresponded both to the occasion and the image of the people who gathered there.

His banquet speech at the Nobel Banquet further highlighted his belief in the transformative power of literature. He used the occasion to draw parallels between his life and the stories he had read and written, emphasizing that for him, the boundary between life and fiction had blurred.

Llosa’s Nobel speeches are remembered not only for their content but also for their delivery and the heartfelt manner in which he shared his experiences and convictions about the importance of literature in shaping human experience and consciousness.

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Introduction part of Vargas Llosa’s Speech

Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Prize in Literature speech in 2010 is a masterful example of storytelling and rhetoric. He begins with a personal anecdote, a technique that draws the listener into his world and establishes a narrative framework for his speech. This approach not only captivates the audience but also serves as a metaphor for his life’s journey and the transformative power of literature.

The introduction part of Vargas Llosa’s speech is very short. In fact, it is only one sentence “I am a storyteller, so before I propose a toast I will tell you a story” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). However, it shows that it is possible to outline the main idea of the speech even in such a concise form. At first, the speaker clearly defines who he is. Certainly, everyone present at the Nobel banquet was aware of it, but Vargas Llosa does not define himself by name or even profession (a writer). He says that he is a storyteller that is slightly different from being a writer. It supposes stronger connections with the folklore and the focus on the stories of people, not only some aesthetic aspects of writing.

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Then Vargas Llosa informs the audience that his speech will be divided into two parts, a story and a toast, so everyone knows what to expect.

Main Part of Llosa’s Speech

In terms of structure, Llosa’s speech is crafted with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. He opens by identifying himself as a storyteller, setting the stage for the narrative to follow. The body of the speech weaves through his early experiences with reading and writing, highlighting the escapism and joy these activities provided him.

Elements of the Main Part of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Prize Speech

Nobel Prize Vargas Llosa reflects on the significance of the Nobel Prize as a recognition of his life’s work and the universal value of literature.
Vargas Llosa He delves into his personal history, sharing how his experiences have shaped his writing and worldview.
Best Translated Book The speech touches upon the theme of translation, not just in language but in the way stories are universally understood and appreciated.
Nobel Prize Speech Llosa uses the platform to discuss the role of the writer in society and the responsibility that comes with the Nobel Prize.
Mario Vargas Llosa He emphasizes the importance of imagination and fiction in creating a parallel life where beauty and order can exist amidst chaos.

The connection with the folklore tale is intensified in his speech with the help of several methods. The writer begins the main part of his harangue with the phrase “Once upon a time, there was a boy…” that creates a clear allusion to a popular beginning of almost all tales (Vargas Llosa, 2010). This feature of his speech is also supported with relatively simple sentences and numerous repetitions that are characteristic of folklore. For example, the writer says that he managed to “escape from the poor house, the poor country and the poor reality in which he lived” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). By repeating the epithet “poor” Vargas Llosa not only makes his speech sound like a tale, but also using very simple methods helps the audience visualize the place where he lived as a little boy. He proves that to be persuasive it is not obligatory to use complex rhetoric devices. It is enough to choose the style and create the necessary atmosphere that would be suitable for the audience and the particular occasion.

General Idea of Llosa’s Speech

The main idea of the story told by Vargas Llosa is that the Nobel Prize committee, by giving such an important award to a person who did not even imagine that he could get it, eliminated all the borders between the real world and the imaginary world of literature where everything is possible. Therefore, the writer aims to show that before the moment he was awarded the Nobel Prize, these worlds were completely different. To do so, he intensifies the contrasts between these two worlds. He describes the world he left as “poor” and tells that he used to have “hard time” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). However, when telling the audience about the world of literature, he uses only positive and very bright epithets. For example, he says that best translated book helped him to get to “wonderful, mesmerizing places peopled with the most beautiful beings and the most surprising things” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). Such contrast is quite simple but very persuasive.

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The power of literature is one of the key concepts that the writer addresses in his speech. He wants to persuade the audience that literature is able to change the lives of people. Vargas Llosa says that it “brought him pleasure and he delighted in writing tales as much as he delighted in reading them” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). He describes literature as the “ideal realm” that can bring a person into the perfect world where he/she would forget about his/her problems in real life (Vargas Llosa, 2010). The writer introduces the “boy” at the beginning of his speech, but he does not name him. However, it is clear that the boy is Vargas Llosa. When he tells that literature has changed the boy’s life, it is clear that this story is autobiographical and the speaker tells about his relations with literature. When the writer contrasts “before” and “after” stages of his life, he appeals to kairos and does it quite effectively. Vargas Llosa employs different means to show his gratitude to the Nobel Prize committee and the importance of this award for him.

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The Last Part Is the most Powerful One

The most powerful part of the story is the last one where Vargas Llosa describes what happened when he was told about his victory. The writer effectively appeals to the audience there trying to explain how big his bewilderment was when he learnt about the prize. Here, basing mainly on pathos, he describes his emotions when he heard that news. To make the audience better understand his feelings, Vargas Llosa compares himself with the poor boy from Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper who was mistaken for a royal.

In the conclusion of his Nobel Banquet speech, Mario Vargas Llosa offers a toast to Sweden, which serves as a poignant and symbolic gesture that connects his personal narrative to the grandeur of the Nobel Prize ceremony. By referring to Sweden as “that strange kingdom that seems to have performed, for a privileged few, the miracle of turning life into literature and literature into life,” he acknowledges the surreal nature of his experience.

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This toast is not just a formality but a culmination of his speech’s themes—blurring the lines between reality and fiction, life and literature. It’s a moment where he expresses gratitude and wonder, recognizing the role of the Swedish Academy in elevating the work of writers like himself to a global stage. The toast encapsulates his journey from a dreamer influenced by best translated book to a laureate honored for his contributions to literature, thus bringing his story full circle and highlighting the transformative power of storytelling.

Usage of Rhetorical Devices

The writer does not want his speech to sound too serious and official, so he uses some jokes that make the atmosphere relaxing. For example, he describes the representative of the Nobel committee who phoned him to inform about his victory as “a gentleman with a name that defied all pronunciation” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). Then he says that this man was from Stockholm, “the capital of a land called Sweden (or something of the sort)” (Vargas Llosa, 2010). These jokes look very organic as the writer belongs to South American culture that is very different from the Swedish one. He does not use too many of them and keeps them only in one paragraph. It is a good step as the abundance of jokes would make the speech too comical that is not acceptable in the occasion. At the end of the harangue the writer proposed a toast to Sweden that is a very nice ending.

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The use of rhetorical devices is evident throughout the speech. Llosa employs anaphora, the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses, which adds rhythm and emphasis to his message. He also uses metaphor extensively, comparing his life to a story and his Nobel Prize experience to a fairy tale come true. This not only enhances the emotional impact of his speech but also reinforces the theme of life imitating art.

Llosa’s speech is a celebration of the written word, and he skillfully uses language to evoke emotions and convey his deep appreciation for literature. His eloquent use of rhetoric not only honors his own achievements but also pays homage to the enduring power of storytelling.

To conclude, Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel banquet speech is a very good example of a short gratitude speech. The structure of the harangue is clear and logical. The writer makes his speech very similar to a folklore tale and adds some corresponding elements to intensify the atmosphere. The speaker employs a number of effective devices and methods to influence the audience and he does it in a very effective way.

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