By Christopher B. Nelson
On Sunday, May 11, St. John’s College held its two hundred twenty-second commencement ceremony in Annapolis. The commencement speaker was Andrew J. Krivak, an alumnus of the Annapolis Class of 1986, and a National Book Award Finalist for his first novel, The Sojourn.
One expects to hear a great deal of laudatory rhetoric at a commencement ceremony. Commencement speakers have something of an obligation to congratulate the graduates, as well as to praise parents and relatives for their support. They often make these celebratory topics the centerpieces of their speeches.
Mr. Krivak certainly fulfilled the obligation very elegantly. But he chose to place at the center of his speech an unexpected theme: the suffering and joy of struggle.
"It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity."
- W.E.B. Du Bois