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Full Rory Gilmore Valedictorian Speech at Graduation (+ Books)

Get the full Rory Gilmore valedictorian speech at her Chilton high school graduation PLUS a list of all the books referenced in it.

Gilmore Girls is a *MAJOR* theme on this blog, as I am the host of @TheRoryGilmoreBookClub on Instagram, where we have a monthly Gilmore Girls reading challenge to read books from the full Gilmore Girls book list on a variety of themes!

So, it only makes sense that we take a closer look at Rory Gilmore's valedictorian speech, where she infamously refers to herself as living in two worlds, one of which is a world of books.

Rory Gilmore's valedictorian speech appears in the finale of Season 3, Episode 22: "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio."

Watch and read the full speech below, followed by a list of all the books and authors Rory references in her speech.

Rory Gilmore Valedictorian Speech

Headmaster Charleston, faculty members, fellow students, family and friends, welcome. We never thought this day would come. We prayed for its quick delivery, crossed days off our calendars, counted hours, minutes and seconds and now that it's here, I'm sorry it is, because it means leaving friends who inspire me and teachers who've been my mentors, so many people who've shaped my life, and my fellow students lives impermeably and forever.

I live in two worlds. One is a world of books. I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann's Way. It's a rewarding world, but my second one is by far superior.

My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric, but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything.

Richard and Emily Gilmore are kind, decent, unfailingly generous people. They are my twin pillars, without whom I could not stand. I am proud to be their grandchild.

But my ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life's blood, Lorelai Gilmore. My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn't do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith. As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don't know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her. Thank you Mom, you are my guidepost for everything.

- Rory Gilmore

Books Referenced in the Rory Gilmore Valedictorian Speech

Below are snippets of all the literary references Rory makes in her speech, followed by more details about the book or books to which she is referring.

"I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County"

Author William Faulkner wrote several books set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County; however, Rory is seen with The Sound and the Fury in an earlier episode of Gilmore Girls.

"hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod"

The Pequod is the fictional Nantucket whaling ship in Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and the white whale is, of course, Moby Dick.

"fought alongside Napoleon"

While there are many books about Napoleon Bonaparte, this reference likely refers to War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, which are referenced during class at Chilton.

"sailed a raft with Huck and Jim"

Huck and Finn are the main characters in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

"committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly"

Ignatius J. Reilly is the protagonist in A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

"rode a sad train with Anna Karenina"

Of course, Anna Karenina is the protagonist in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

"strolled down Swann's Way"

"Swann's Way" refers to Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time (Vol. I) by Marcel Proust.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen is the classic author of six novels, the most popular of which is Pride and Prejudice. Other early Gilmore Girls episodes also reference Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility.

Eudora Welty

Rory is seen reading The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty in an earlier episode of Gilmore Girls.


Get a FREE printable PDF of the full Rory Gilmore book list of ALL the books mentioned on Gilmore Girls.

If you enjoyed this full Rory Gilmore valedictorian speech from her Chilton graduation, plus the list of books mentioned in it, get a free printable of the full Rory Gilmore reading list PDF for you to keep track of all the books you have read from the show when you sign up for my email newsletter.

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