The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The auditorium is full, with 400 people in attendance when Randy gets on stage to set up for the lecture. Randy is nervous. Even with the lecture minutes away, he tinkers with the slideshow, deletes a few more slides, and he’s still working when he’s told it’s time to start. Randy notes that he’s dressed in a Walt Disney Imagineer polo shirt, and an oval name-badge, paying tribute to his life experience working there. This is also a tribute to Walt Disney himself, “who famously said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”’
Again, Randy uses an approaching deadline as an opportunity to edit. Also, Randy’s wardrobe reflects how he realized his dreams. His clothes also illustrate his later advice about fashion (it’s better to be earnest than hip.)
Themes
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
Randy cracks a few jokes, and then says his dad always taught him that “when there’s an elephant in the room, introduce it.” So he tells the audience about his terminal cancer, showing an image of the tumors on his liver, entitled “The Elephant in the Room.” He tells the audience this is what it is—nothing will change it. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” In this moment, Randy says he no longer feels the effects of chemo—he feels like his old, healthy self. Still, he says, he’s not in denial. He shows a picture of the new house Jai and Randy bought so that they could be closer to Jai’s family after Randy passes away. Then, to show them that he’s still okay, Randy drops down to the ground and does push-ups, to the audience’s laughter and applause. Finally, Randy feels that the lecture can begin.
If there was ever a quote that sums up Randy’s attitude about having a positive outlook and positive behavior, it is, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” So, Randy acts that idea out when he drops down and does push-ups—he’s showing the audience that though he’s sick, that doesn’t mean he has to act like it.
Themes
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon