THE ESSENCE OF A GOOD AFTER-DINNER SPEECH Julie Dagget’s speech captures the essence of a good after-dinner speech that Lucia defines. The nature of Dagget’s speech is basically for entertainment without having to drag weighty topics along the way. It seeks to create a light mood by giving emphasis to certain details such as quirky moments in the life of the speaker as a child. In fact, by narrating the author’s childhood experiences about her fear towards horror movies, notwithstanding the darkness of the night, all contribute to the task of establishing good rapport with the audience.
After all, there is hardly any reasonable man who never once was a child having their own kinds of fears. For one, Lucia explains that any topic that is good for a persuasive speech is also good for an after-dinner speech, provided that the approach is lighthearted. Dagget’s speech begins with what others may find disturbing at first. But immediately after Dagget ends the introductory part of her speech, the mood is swung from that of seeming morbidity to that of unmistakable gaiety.
By the time Dagget mentions Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, the audience is more than likely to discover that what she was relating is, indeed, not from personal experience but from a movie. This becomes the starting point of Dagget where she then later expounds on the subject of how people become ridiculous at times for watching horror films and mistakes these films as parts of people’s real lives. Instead of showing the statistics behind how many people are psychologically affected by an addiction to horror films, or of explaining why people love to watch them but are still unable to distinguish what is real from what is not, Dagget merely makes her clear point in a simple and lighthearted manner. Dagget’s supporting materials in her speech include HBO, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Exorcist, and The Halloween, among others.
Apparently, all of these are horror films—apart from HBO which understandably shows the same films from time to time—that have been popular in one way or another. One can see why Dagget chose movies as her concrete supporting materials to her speech. It can hardly be contested that people like to see films. By using movies as aids to making her points visible and more felt by her audience, it becomes easier for her to channel across her viewpoints.
There will be lesser boundaries between her and her audience. Indeed, it will be a lot easier for her part if the audience members themselves have already watched the same films she saw back when she was still a child and as a young adult. The speech of Dagget is not sophisticated. In fact, it is relatively a simple speech that makes no hardcore claims.
On the contrary, it is a speech that highlights the well-accepted notion that somewhere inside every individual is a child. Her attempts to target that part of people’s personalities is certainly effective inasmuch as it reaches out to a rarely accessed part of adult life. That is even more understandable in a gathering where you will not expect a child in sight. For after-dinner speeches, it will certainly be good for the speaker to set aside heavy topics and talk about lighter ones. After all, the people attending these gatherings already have burdensome things to attend to come the following day. To cast before them yet another topic that requires them to critically reflect and mull things over with considerable mental pressure is to defeat the purpose of why after-dinner speeches are held in the first place. Dagget employs the simple trick of taking a rarely talked about subject among adults and using the same as a platform to catapult her main observation—people grow-up but their childish heart remains.