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Get the full list of books referenced in Rory Gilmore’s graduation speech. The list includes books and authors mentioned, along with more details about what she mentioned and why. You’ll be inspired by the valedictorian of Chilton High School. Let’s read like Rory!

stack of books in rory gilmore's valedictorian speech at chilton graduation.

Books Referenced in Rory Gilmore’s Graduation Speech

infographic of 9 books from rory gilmore's valedictorian speech at graduation on gilmore girls.

Let’s take a closer look at Rory Gilmore’s graduation speech, where she famously refers to herself as living in two worlds, one of which is a world of books:

“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.”

Rory Gilmore

Rory Gilmore’s graduation speech appears in the finale of Season 3, Episode 22: “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio.”

(This would make a great senior yearbook quote!)

More Details About the Literary References in Rory Gilmore’s 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.

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“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.

This book is also on Rory’s love interest Jess Mariano’s book list.


“fought alongside Napoleon”

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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 Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which is also known as Rory’s favorite book.


“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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What did Rory Gilmore say in her graduation speech?

At Rory Gilmore’s graduation from Chilton High School, she gave a valedictorian speech in which she famously said, “I live in two worlds. One is a world of books.”

What episode is Rory’s graduation speech?

Rory Gilmore’s graduation speech appears in Gilmore Girls Season 3, Episode 22: “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio.”

Was Rory the valedictorian?

Yes. Rory Gilmore was the valedictorian of Chilton High School during the year she graduated.

What type of speech has Rory given?

In Gilmore Girls, Rory Gilmore gave the valedictorian speech at her graduation from Chilton High School. She talked about the influences of books and her mother on her life.

Conclusion

The books referenced in Rory Gilmore’s graduation showcase the “world of books” in which she lives. You too can read like Rory with classics like Anna Karenina, her favorite book.

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